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Category Archives: shopping

Bargain from the Basement

I believe I mentioned going shopping with my sister last Saturday in hopes of finding a fabulous outfit for this Saturday’s projected wine tasting tour. One of the best stops was at The Village Basement Consignment Shoppe in New Hartford, NY.

The Shoppe is located in the basement under Joette’s. It’s one of those buildings built into a hill. The entrance is in the back of the building, where the parking lot is. We could already see some cute clothes through the window.

I love consignment shops, because you never know what you might find. They are a little problematic, though, because you might not find it in your size. Then again, I tend to shop the clearance racks, where there is no guarantee your size will be left.

What I found Saturday fit me perfectly: a silk-looking shirt in royal blue and white. And it was only four dollars! What a bargain!

Earlier that day I had found on a clearance rack (of course) at Burlington Coat Factory a pair of black pants. I have not tried on the two pieces together yet, but I’ve kind of got my hopes up.

The Village Basement also has furniture, books and all kinds of stuff. I only checked out clothes on Saturday, so I must make a return trip soon to look at other things. When I do, I will probably venture upstairs to Joette’s, which has all kinds of wonderful jewelry and accessories.

Full disclosure: I am writing this post on Monday. I am trying to lessen my stress from having so much to do as the week wears on. I thought at least I can get ahead on my blog posts. Now if I could also work on laundry during my breaks at work, I would be all set.

And having typed this post in on Tuesday, I will disclose: still stressed. Also, I tried on the pants and shirt together: don’t like them. I still like each piece separately, so that’s good, but I am still without a fabulous wine tasting outfit. Stay tuned for further developments.

The Village Basement is located at 70 Genesee St., New Hartford, NY 13413. Phone number 733-4794. They are open Wed. to Fri from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday Shopping

Steven’s and my Saturday Mohawk Valley adventures included an indoor garage sale at the Baptist Church in Ilion, NY. I figured it would be as good as a rummage sale.

The blurbs in the paper I had seen had only said Baptist Church without including the address. I felt sure we would be able to find it anyways, but I was still happy to see an address of Second Street in Saturday morning’s paper. Then as we drove to Ilion I could not remember if it was Second Street or Second Avenue (don’t get me started on street names!). Steven thought we would still be able to find it. He was driving.

“We’ll probably say, ‘Oh yeah, that church’ when we see it,” I said. We go to a lot of church sales.

It was easy to find. Getting into the parking lot was a little trickier, but we managed to get a space.

I noted by a flier on the door that Indoor Garage Sale meant that vendors paid the church to set up a table. Individuals as well as professional dealers were displaying their wares. It was fun to look around, but we did not find anything to buy. I admired a vintage Saltines tin one of the antique dealers had. Steven checked out some decorative plates, one by Normal Rockwell.

As we left the church, I noticed Cornerstone Consignment Shop not even a block away. I’ve been there a couple of times. Steven has not, although he does remember browsing their outdoor display during Ilion Village-wide Garage Sales a few years ago.

It is a very well-stocked shop with multiple rooms on two floors, all filled with stuff. Steven found a shot glass from Rosamund Gifford Zoo in Syracuse. We have been to that zoo but not recently. Perhaps another trip there for a blog post is in our future. Or maybe one to the Utica Zoo. I like zoos.

While we were looking at things upstairs, I found a furry fedora, such as an old man who lived across the street from my family in Rome used to wear many years ago.

“Steven,” I said, “now that you are in your 50s, maybe you should have an old man hat.”

Another shopper promptly took me to task for so designating the hat. It turned out to be a friend we had not seen in a few years (how the time flies, especially when you are in or approaching your 50s). We had a nice chat during which he assured us it was a hat he would not scorn to wear himself.

The hat was too small for Steven or me, so anyone hoping for a picture (if and when I eventually learn to post photos) is doomed to disappointment.

So a sale and a store netted us one shot glass and the renewal of an old acquaintance. Not bad for a Saturday morning.

The Cornerstone Consignment Shop is located at 68 Morgan St., Ilion, NY. Phone number 315-894-0477.

My Feet Thank Me

I may have mentioned in passing the steel-toed work shoes that are part of my blue collar regalia. I get them at Melfe’s in Ilion, NY. Saturday I went to get my yearly pair, paid for by my employer.

My employer has a contract with Melfe’s so that I don’t have to purchase the shoes myself and get reimbursed, which is handy. However, even if this were not the case, I would probably go to Melfe’s. They offer the kind of knowledgeable, one-on-one service that is hard to come by these days.

I was fortunate enough to arrive at a time when they were not too busy. I had it from a couple of co-workers that last Saturday was nuts. I did not have long to wait before a young man asked how he could help me. He measured my feet to be sure of the size (seven-and-a-half wide; I’m not self-conscious about it) then went to see what he had in my size.

I prefer the sneaker style to the boot style. Women can often get two pair for the allowance. I love this deal, because it is so much better for your feet to alternate and give each pair a chance to dry out (don’t tell me your feet don’t sweat; everybody’s do) (and I can’t even pretend mine don’t. Stinky!).

It did not take me long to find two pair I liked. He had to order the second pair though, because some sizes had gotten mixed up and he had a seven-and-a -half and an eight in one box. I guess that means somebody went home with the opposite and will wonder why her shoes feel different.

I noticed that Melfe’s also has running shoes, nurses’ shoes and even a few pair of high quality, comfortable looking dress shoes and sandals. I may return to check the latter out in the spring.

It was a very good shopping experience. The clerk knew all about the shoes, and we chatted in a friendly fashion. I complimented him on how well the staff takes care of multiple customers efficiently, remembering previous experiences in the store. He told me how crazy it had been the previous weekend (that’s probably how the seven-and-a-halfs and eights got mixed up).

Before I left I asked his name.


“Do you mind if I mention you in my blog post?” I actually had not mentioned my blog, but I figured he knew what a blog was.

“Mike Shue.” He spelled it.

“I love it!”

Melfe’s is located at 64 Central Ave, Ilion, NY 13357, phone number 315-894-4049. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Running Around Commentary

I thought of that title yesterday, when I was not sure if I would go running today (Saturday), but intended to drive to New Hartford for seasonal purposes.

As I contemplated actually writing this post, however, I ran into a slight problem. I obviously can’t write about what I bought, because some of my giftees occasionally read my blog. I knew that going in. But then, being kind of a paranoid person, I started to think that if I wrote about where I went certain people might figure out what I bought. Some people are clever you know, and I am not that unpredictable.

One of my stops in particular would be an obvious giveaway. Naturally, that is the most fun place. An adventure getting there, an authentic Mohawk Valley cool place to go, AND I told the ladies working there that I was totally going to do a blog post about them! Well, it will have to wait till after the holiday. Or until I can’t resist giving … the … early (in fact, I may have said too much already).

Where was I? Ah yes, headed to New Hartford, getting an early start to beat some of the crowds. Long time readers may remember that I used to work in New Hartford. I will never get over being happy about my WAY shorter commute to Ilion. Every time I drive to New Hartford I feel happy all over again. In fact, yesterday when I was telling a friend at work I intended to drive into New Hartford, I felt happy about it.

Really, it’s not a bad drive for a Saturday adventure. I went by Route 5S, which has some lovely views (although I kept my eyes on the road enough to avoid an accident). It was a gloomy, rainy day, but I still enjoyed it.

Going through Utica is fun, too. I love Utica. The architecture of some of the older buildings is beautiful. I also have a kind of a fascination with the old, decrepit-looking factories. The grey gloomy day enhanced this.

I noted a mere two hundred seventy something days till the Boilermaker as I passed the Runner’s Hall of Fame. I do not intend to run in 2013, but I may find occasion to write about it again.

On into Yorkville, I think. Utica has a bunch of little towns around it: Yorkville, Washington Mills, Whitesboro, New York Mills, New Hartford. Some astute reader may call me out on this and tell me a couple of those are really nowhere near Utica, but I’m sure I saw them on green signs somewhere.

I passed a consignment shop with the tag line “For Attic Addicts,” whose name completely escapes me. How embarrassing. Holland Farms put wreaths on the cows on their sign out front. Mmmmm, half-moon cookies. Perhaps I would stop on the way back. Voss, closed for the season. No hot dogs today! Harbor Freight Tools, one of my Dad’s favorite places to shop. Symeon’s Greek Restaurant. Mmmm, if I was still around at lunch time…

And, of course, a bunch more businesses I haven’t mentioned. Plus the places I stopped at, which I will give a shout out to AFTER Christmas. If the people I bought for like the presents I got for them there. No reason to think they won’t.

Thank You, Hummel’s

I may have mentioned once or twice that I am secretary for Ilion Little Theatre. I’m not a very good one, so I hope none of my fellow board members reads this blog.

One of my duties is to send thank you notes to people who make generous donations. What this duty consists of is me making a note during the meeting that a card must be sent, forgetting about it till I type up my minutes for the next meeting, then saying, “Oh yeah, I have to do that” and running to the store for a card.

Somebody suggested I purchase a box of Thank You cards, thus saving myself a whole step in the routine. Accordingly, Steven and I made our way to Hummel’s Office Plus in Herkimer, NY last night. I first called and made sure they carried packets of Thank You cards (who can be sure in these non-writing times we live in?).

“Oh yes,” I was told. “They’re blank inside.”

“Just what I need,” I said. Then I hung up the phone and went to change my shoes. I was still in my blue collar outfit, and my feet can only put up with steel toes for just so long.

The trip had the added advantage that Tabby would get to ride in our new Trailblazer for the first time. I may do a whole blog post on our new Trailblazer, but that’s a preview of coming attractions.

I left Steven and Tabby downstairs chatting with Ryan, the manager, and went up to the gift shop. At first the only cards I saw were obviously thank you’s for a baby shower. Cute little animals mocked me. I saw a rather sexy vintage-looking mouse (it may have been Minnie or one of her forebears, but she didn’t look Disney to me). Then I noticed a classy set in green with a design.

“This doesn’t look too Christmasy because it’s green, does it?” I asked one of the ladies that work there.

“Oh no, that’s not a Christmas design,” she assured me. I don’t know why I don’t trust my own judgement on these things.

There were a number of definitely Christmasy things for me to admire. I looked at snow globes and singing angels and wished I had more time. I saw at least one thing that would be a very good present for Steven. I can’t tell you what it is, though, because he reads this blog (sometimes I read it to him before I hit “Publish.” Hi, Steve!).

When went back downstairs, Tabby greeted me as if she hadn’t seen me in a month. I love dogs. Steven had purchased some superglue for snowman repair, so we made use of both the office supply and the Hallmark sides.

It seems I see things urging me to Shop Local a lot these days, so I suppose I could feel virtuous about my purchase. Only I didn’t shop there because somebody told me to. I went because it is a good place to shop.

For more information on Hummel’s, visit their website at

Peppermint Oil and More

One of my stops while shopping Saturday was a place I had never been before but had always meant to visit, Peter’s Cornucopia in the New Hartford Shopping Center.

I had most recently heard about Peter’s during the last play I was in. One cast member gave another peppermint oil to help clear sinuses suffering from a bad cold. She said she had purchased it at Peter’s Cornucopia and that it was good for many things.

While I was getting my pedicure on Saturday the topics of peppermint oil and Peter’s Cornucopia came up (I forget which was mentioned first). Clair, who was working on my feet, said that somebody had given her peppermint oil to help an upset, nervous stomach.

Therefore, when my friend Phyllis mentioned stopping at Peter’s, I was delighted.

Phyllis enjoys Peter’s for their wide selection of gluten free products. I spent a good deal of time browsing the herbal and homeopathic remedies before finding the peppermint oil (I suppose I could have asked somebody, but it was more fun to look).

I did not see all Peter’s has to offer, but I did notice free-range organic turkeys, Three Village Cheese and some very fancy chocolates which I virtuously resisted. I said I must bring Steven next time.

“Does he like organic stuff?”

“He just likes unusual stores like this.”

According to their business card, Peter’s Cornucopia offers natural and gourmet foods, a juice/coffee bar and cafe, fruit and nut trays, vitamins and herbal supplements, and gourmet gift baskets. Steven will definitely like to check out the cafe, and I will take a closer look at the gourmet foods.

Peter’s is located at 38 New Hartford Shopping Center, New Hartford, NY 13413, telephone 315-724-4998, fax 315-724-1975. Hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Getting Personal About Running

I HATE the expression “TMI.” I think it is rude and in general is applied indiscriminately. If something truly is not an appropriate topic for the company, a tactful change of subject is in order. To yell, “TMI! TMI!” is just a mean joke and it hurts my feelings. All that by way of saying, I am going to talk about my sports bras today. If you don’t like it STOP READING NOW!!!

I think that was fair. Kind of like a Spoiler Alert at the beginning of an Entertainment Weekly article. Or, better yet, one of those warnings at the beginning of a show on Investigation Discovery that it may contain material disturbing to some viewers.

To get on with my post: I wear two sports bras at a time. It’s the only thing I’ve found that works for me. I used to wear two of the cheap ones and was fine with it. Now I find that at least one has to be of a certain quality or I just don’t get the control.

A guy at the Sneaker Store told me that a sales rep told him that runners should replace their sports bras as often as they replace their running shoes. Probably sound advice. So I knew I was overdue, but, oh, I hate bra shopping. I’m sure I hate it even more than the people who have stopped reading this post hate it when I give what they call Too Much Information.

Is anybody still reading?

When I went for my run this morning, I could feel one bra was chafing. Oh dear! Well, we must persevere through these minor discomforts. By the end of the run, I was tucking some of my t-shirt in between my body and bra. That helped.

Then I stepped into the shower and the water hit where the skin had been rubbed raw by the offending undergarment. OOOWWWW! Seriously, I stood there in the shower saying, “Ow! Ow! Ow!” which made Steven a little worried.

I went to K-Mart with a shopping list that included two things: sports bras and Neo-sporin. I got the generic version of Neo-sporin, but it had the same active ingredients. I found several sports bras which I think will work in varying combinations. Some are in pretty colors. I see no reason why a useful object should not also be decorative.

Before I wrote this, I was reading some of my older posts. I’ve been reading through them from the beginning and making notes, thinking I might learn something. Mostly what I’ve learned is that I have had some pretty silly posts. I guess this is one of them. We’ll see what I can come up with for tomorrow. As always, thank you for playing.

My Feet Will Thank Me

Monday I finally made it to the Sneaker Store in New Hartford, NY, to purchase new running shoes.

I like to get two pairs, so I can alternate them, especially if I run on consecutive days. Scott suggested I look at the clearance table first.

“Of course, it’s pretty picked over,” he warned. I know: you snooze, you lose. How long have I been meaning to do this?

I liked the first pair I tried on, but Scott said they were more of a cross trainer. Still, if I also got running shoes, I could mostly wear the cross trainers for walking. I set them aside and kept looking. I had been looking for size 7 1/2, but found a pair of Aasics in an 8.

“I can rock this,” I said. In fact, it felt better than the cross trainers had. Then Scott found me a pair of New Balance. I liked those, too.

“Could it be this easy?” I asked. Apparently it could. I was glad of that, because Steven had graciously accompanied me, and I did not want him to get bored while I tried on fifty pairs of shoes.

I mentioned seeing the new Saucony sneakers on the Sneaker Store’s Facebook page. Scott told me how they were moving to the next generation of running shoe. It seems the sneaker manufacturers are going for more of a barefoot design. I know actual barefoot running is a big thing these days, but I quite frankly can’t imagine my feet, legs and back liking such a thing. I also have to think: before people wore shoes, there was no pavement. They ran on dirt, grass, sand. Sometimes stones, I suppose. Then too, they went barefoot all the time, and they didn’t go for pedicures where they got their callouses shaved off with pumice stones. Well, I’m sure the sneaker manufacturers have smart designers and shoe engineers working for them. They must allow for that sort of thing.

Be that as it may, I was very happy with my old school sneakers, purchased at clearance prices. In fact, when I got them home, I realized the New Balances were the exact pair I had purchased last year. I was very happy with them and expect to continue to be so.

While I was shoe shopping, Steven had noticed a Bosco t-shirt he totally wanted. Bosco, of course, is the parrot that lives at the Sneaker Store. The first time I was ever there, I couldn’t figure out who kept saying hello.

Alas, the t-shirt was not for sale. The owner had had it made, but had not decided whether to sell them or have his staff wear them or what. Steven voted for selling them. I suggested the owner sponsor a race and offer the t-shirts to the runners (thus ensuring I would get one and
Steven would have to borrow mine).

“Oh, he does sponsor a run,” Scott said and handed me a slip of paper with “Bolder Inspiration of Trenton Falls” printed on it. I read, “5 Mile Run, 1 Mile Kids Run…August 4th, 2012.” I “liked” Bolder Inspiration of Trenton Falls on Facebook a long time ago but for one reason or another have never run it. It’s on my calendar now.

So is the Boilermaker. As Steven and I drove through Utica en route to New Hartford, I looked over at the Running Hall of Fame for the Boilermaker count. 33 days. As I type this, it is one month from today. Eek! Good thing I got new shoes!

The Sneaker Store is located at 4490 Commercial Dr., New Hartford, phone 315-736-9237; For more information on Bolder Inspiration of Trenton Falls go to

Fun Date at the Farmer’s Market

Wednesday was fun because Steven brought me to work and picked me up so we could go to the Mohawk Farmer’s Market. It’s these little breaks in the routine that keep me happy (I know: it takes so little to please some people).

All day at work I told people I had a date. They were suitably impressed. I know some people dress up for a date. I still had on my army camouflage pants and t-shirt which I normally wear to work. I did change my steel-toed work shoes for lighter weight running shoes, for which my feet thanked me. I had had the foresight to put my crazy old lady hat in Steven’s car. Love that wide brim on a sunny day.

Tabby looked very pretty when she and Steven met me after work, because she had been to the groomer. She sported green bows and her usual sweet, happy expression.

Mohawk Farmer’s Market is at Weller Park, next to the Library on Main Street. We easily found a parking space and walked over to peruse the vendors. We purchased two frog magnets from the first booth we came to. You can’t have too many refrigerator magnets, or so I’ve heard.

I was pleased to see Thousand Islands Winery present. I told the guy I had missed them at Ilion Farmer’s Market. He said he would probably be back there for the winter. For the summer months he also does farmers markets in Rome and Whitesboro. I’d like to check those out sometime. I told him how my mom and sisters and I used to go to the old Farmers Market in Rome in the days of the Living Bridge and quite a different looking downtown. He agreed that was a long time ago. I didn’t mention that his winery had been replaced in Ilion by Herkimer’s own Domnhall Vineyards. Probably he would have been pleased to hear it. I don’t know how much rivalry exists between different wineries. I would imagine they could settle their differences over a nice glass of pinot, wouldn’t you?

Moving on down the row of vendors, Steven and I considered some frozen blackberries and lovely bracelets but decided against them. Tabby was interested in some border collie puppies. Steven and I petted them; they were so sweet and silky. But we did not buy Tabby a brother. Tabby got a few pets herself from various shoppers and vendors.

It is a small but fun market. I look forward to seeing if more vendors join as the summer progresses. The Mohawk Farmer’s Market runs from 2 to 5 p.m. every Wednesday. Check it out!

Mission to Middleville

Saturday I was on a mission to find costumes and props for the play I’m in (which, once again, is Harvey with Ilion Little Theatre). I had found a couple of rummage sales in the newspapers, and I thought to hit the Thrift Store and some consignment shops (or it is shoppes?).

I headed first to Middleville, NY, thinking I’d go further afield then closer to home (I feel I should put NY; after all, I’m on the internet, people all over the world could read this) (or do I flatter myself?). Steven and I have been to rummage sales at the Methodist Church there, so I felt confident I could find it on my own (hmmmm, what do you think is going to happen?).

Out Route 28 I drove. I don’t go that way very often, so it gave me something new to look at. Hey, anything that adds interest for me. As I passed Heidelberg Bakery, I thought I’d have to stop and eat at the cafe sometime. When I wasn’t on a mission to rummage sales that close at noon.

I noted several school buses at Mudville but did not see where they were from. I wondered if some sort of baseball tournament was going on and thought that would be fun to watch. (Ooh, maybe I should do a blog post about Mudville sometime.)

There were the Herkimer Diamond Mines with the campground across the street. I watched for pedestrians as the sign advised me to do, but I did not see any. I guess it’s a little early in the season for camping, but not being a camper myself, of course I don’t know.

Naturally, once I got to Middleville I could not remember exactly where the church is. It only took me one false turn to find it. I was happy to note a handily placed Stewart’s in case I needed to stop and ask directions, but luckily did not have to resort to that. I say luckily, because I have had the experience of stopping into a convenience store and asking only to have the clerk apologetically tell me he or she does not live in the area.

Two ladies were working the sale, and I was the only customer at the time. They cordially invited me to buy as much as I wanted; they were hoping to get rid of it. That’s the beauty of going on the last day of a rummage sale.

I did not find anything for the play, but I found some good junk for me and Steven, including some VHS tapes that I think somebody recorded movies from television on. I thought they had intriguing titles, mostly to do with murder. I figured what the heck, I’m buying them cheap, the money goes to a church and if we don’t like them we can always re-donate them somewhere else. And it was fewer items for the ladies to take care of at the end of the day.

I headed back toward Herkimer feeling I had made a good start on my mission. I guess I don’t know why I felt that way, since I hadn’t found anything for the play, but the day was young. My adventure continued.