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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Hero, the Cobbler...

There are little events in life that make me sigh, look around, and ask, “really?” Events such as dropping something for the third time in a row, stabbing the roof of your mouth with a tortilla chip, stubbing your toe, leaving your lunch at home, and in my opinion, the cake-topper: your favorite shoes breaking. We’ve all had it happen to us, and thankfully, I’ve mostly had wear and tear issues, rather than something snapping off while wearing them. I’ve tossed a lot of good shoes because I didn’t know any better. I thought they were broken and that’s that. They’re done. I threw them away like an idiot. I’ll never forget my pricey avocado colored heels with dark brown piping that I tossed because I wore a hole through the sole of the right shoe. Ugh…I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for getting rid of those. Of course some shoes aren’t worth repairing. I’m never going to take my cheapie flats to a cobbler. It’s more cost effective to just buy a new pair. However, when I realized that my expensive over-the-knee leather boots had a cracked sole, I knew I had to do right by them and take them to a cobbler. Being in the shoe business (hehe), we frequently refer customers to a cobbler in Medford, Oregon that does fantastic work. Messinger Shoe Repair is located downtown, tucked away inside Norris Shoes, a store that specializes in comfort. I’ve sent many customers to Messinger’s, so I figured I should give him a go and see for myself what kind of work he can do. I made sure to have low expectations that way I wouldn’t be disappointed and figured either way, as long as I’m able to wear them again, regardless of how the new sole turns out, it’s better than never being able to wear them again. About two weeks later, my boots were finished. Not only did he re-sole them, he dyed the toe, leaving my boots looking scuff-less. They literally were returned to me better than new. The best part is that the repair cost me $30. These boots would have cost me hundreds of dollars to replace, but Messinger’s was able to make them perfect for only $30. Crazy, right?

So, the moral of the story is don’t give up on your favorite shoes just because the sole is cracked, or a buckle fell off, or a zipper broke. Before you toss them, make sure a cobbler can’t make them as good as new for just a few bucks.

post by Amanda

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from Village Shoes!

I keep my snowman in the freezer
Just behind the pies
He likes it there, he told me so
I can see it in his eyes.
I made him on a cold, cold morning
When the snow was fresh and deep
Now he sits in the freezer
Near the fish that we got cheap.

I keep my snowman in the freezer
And look at him each day.
If I’d left him in the garden
He’d simply have melted away.

But now he’s like my Grandma
Living somewhere safe and nice;
He’s in a frosty, snowy palace
On a throne of coldest ice.

I keep my snowman in the freezer
Near a lump of frozen beef
And I’ve got a treat for him in August:
I’m taking him to Tenerife!

by Ian McMillan

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Solstice: Returning To The Light

Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures the world over for thousands of years. The shortest day and longest night of the year. This start of the solar year is a celebration of Light and the rebirth of the Sun. In old Europe, it was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel. Today, many people in Western-based cultures refer to this holiday as "Christmas." Yet a look into its origins of Christmas reveals its Pagan roots. Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" in the third century as part of the Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. Shortly thereafter, in 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this Roman solar feast day was Christianized. January 6, celebrated as Epiphany in Christendom and linked with the visit of the Magi, was originally an Egyptian date for the Winter Solstice.

Here are some ways you can celebrate the solstice:

  • Celebrate Yule with a series of rituals, feasts, and other activities. In most ancient cultures, the celebration lasted more than a day. The ancient Roman Saturnalia festival sometimes went on for a week. Have Winter Solstice Eve and Day be the central focus for your household, and conceptualize other holiday festivities, including New Year's office parties and Christmas visits with Christian relatives, as part of your Solstice celebration. By adopting this perspective, Pagan parents can help their children develop an understanding of the multicultural and interfaith aspects of this holiday time and view "Christmas" as just another form of Solstice.
  • Have gift exchanges and feasts over the course of several days and nights as was done of old. Party hearty on New Year's Eve not just to welcome in the new calendar year, but also to welcome the new solar year.
  • Adorn the home with sacred herbs and colors. Decorate your home in Druidic holiday colors red, green, and white. Place holly, ivy, evergreen boughs, and pine cones around your home, especially in areas where socializing takes place. Hang a sprig of mistletoe above a major threshold and leave it there until next Yule as a charm for good luck throughout the year. Have family/household members join together to make or purchase an evergreen wreath. Include holiday herbs in it and then place it on your front door to symbolize the continuity of life and the wheel of the year. If you choose to have a living or a harvested evergreen tree as part of your holiday decorations, call it a Solstice tree and decorate it with Pagan symbols.
  • Convey love to family, friends, and associates. At the heart of Saturnalia was the custom of family and friends feasting together and exchanging presents. Continue this custom by visiting, entertaining, giving gifts, and sending greetings by mail and/or phone. Consider those who are and/or have been important in your life and share appreciation.

  • Reclaim Santa Claus as a Pagan Godform. Today's Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), and the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year). Santa's reindeer can be viewed as forms of Herne, the Celtic Horned God. Decorate your home with Santa images that reflect His Pagan heritage.
  • Honor the Goddess as Great Mother. Place Pagan Mother Goddess images around your home. You may also want to include one with a Sun child, such as Isis with Horus. Pagan Goddess forms traditionally linked with this time of year include Tonantzin (Native Mexican corn mother), Holda (Teutonic earth goddess of good fortune), Bona Dea (Roman women's goddess of abundance and prophecy), Ops (Roman goddess of plenty), Au Set/Isis (Egyptian/multicultural All Goddess whose worship continued in Christian times under the name Mary), Lucina/St. Lucy (Roman/Swedish goddess/saint of light), and Befana (Italian Witch who gives gifts to children at this season).
  • Honor the new solar year with light. Do a Solstice Eve ritual in which you meditate in darkness and then welcome the birth of the sun by lighting candles and singing chants and Pagan carols. If you have a indoor fireplace or an outdoor fire circle, burn an oak log as a Yule log and save a bit to start next year's fire. Decorate the inside and/or outside of your home with electric colored lights. Because of the popularity of five pointed stars as holiday symbols, this is a good time to display a pentagram of blue or white lights.
  • Contribute to the manifestation of more wellness on Planet Earth. Donate food and clothing to poor in your area. Volunteer time at a social service agency. Put up bird feeders and keep them filled throughout the winter to supplement the diets of wild birds. Donate funds and items to non-profit groups, such as Pagan/Wiccan churches and environmental organizations. Meditate for world peace. Work magic for a healthier planet. Make a pledge to do some form of good works in the new solar year.

Happy Solstice to all!

information by: Circle Sanctuary
picture courtesy of: photobucket

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Who's Hungry for a Scanwich?

“I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.” –Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

This is torture. PURE TORTURE. Browsing through Scanwiches has made me so incredibly hungry. I can barely complete a sentence before I’m back on the site, scrolling through the sandwiches...drooling on the keyboard. Okay, wait. I’m going to go eat lunch and then I’ll write this thing…

Okay. Much better.

So, the creator of this website, Jon Chonko, lives in NYC and has access to tons of amazing sandwiches. Apparently the word ‘scanwiches’ popped into his head first, and then he decided to give it a go using an old scanner that his girlfriend gave him, and it took off from there. Aesthetically, the website’s design is minimal, giving it a clean look where nothing detracts from the sandwiches, which makes it pretty easy to spend a good hour or so looking them all over without being distracted by ads or whatever. This site is especially useful because he lists the ingredients, so you can recreate them at home if you’d like!

Watch the magic happen!

Here are some of my favorites:

November 28th: Softened ramen noodles, ham, and american cheese.

May 22nd: Eggplant parmesan on a toasted hero.

May 5th: Sliced grilled steak, onion, peppers, and chipotle mayo on a hero.

June 15th: Hot steamed lobster, drawn butter, on a hot dug bun

Which scanwiches are your favorite?

Oh, and another fun food site is thisiswhyyourefat.tumblr.com!

photos courtesy of scanwiches.com and gizmodo.com

post by Amanda

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Christmas Music for People Who Don’t Like Christmas Music

I had a lovely Thanksgiving this year. I spent the holiday with friends and their family in a cabin somewhere in Oregon. Laughter filled the air while I drank wine and shoved copious amounts of food down my throat. The house and company were warm. The next day? PANIC. BLACK FRIDAY. Christmas is officially near and the meal shared with those dear to us wasn’t necessarily to give thanks, but to carb up so we’d have plenty of energy for when we’re elbowing grandmas out of our way so we can grab the last of the new _____ that’s hot this year. Honestly, I don’t think it’s the crowds on Black Friday that make people hostile…I think it’s the Christmas music. I think people start to snap by the time they hear ‘It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas’ for the umpteenth time, sung by a different artist each time. Oh, and by ‘people’, I mean ‘me’.

As I’m sure you can tell by now, I’m not a huge fan of Christmas music, but I don’t think it’s abnormal. I don’t think anyone is a fan of music that they’re unable to escape for an entire month. The songs are usually all the same, and the repetitiveness eventually makes me irritable. If you’re anything like me, you’re not completely SOL during the month of December. I found a Christmas album years ago, and it doesn’t make me angry. The album is called Maybe This Christmas and it consists of contemporary artists singing their versions of the classics or songs they wrote for ol’ Saint Nick.

If you like this album, you'll probably enjoy the other similar X-Mas albums called Maybe This Christmas Tree and Maybe This Christmas Too.

Here are a couple more songs that I don't dislike immensely:

Mrs. Christmas by Jessie Baylin

Jessie wrote this song as a Christmas present to her husband, Nathan Followill (drummer for Kings of Leon). I love the song’s retro vibe and cutesy lyrics.

O Holy Night by Cartman (via South Park)

I know, I know, it’s a South Park song, but Cartman fumbling the lyrics is pretty hilarious, and true to form, Christmas is only about receiving presents. (The show South Park is incredibly inappropriate as a whole, so if you're not familiar with the show by now, you might want to avoid it all together.)

As of today, there are 19 days till Christmas, which means 19 more days of Christmas music. I hope the information that I provided you with helps keep you sane for at least a couple of them.

photos courtesy of Amazon

post by Amanda

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas for a Manly Man

I came across a website a while ago called Uncrate.com that prides itself on providing info about ‘The Best Gear for Guys.’ This website is AWESOME! It features outdoor gear, technology, style tips, grooming products, and pretty much anything else you can think of. They even provide you with a link that directs you to a site where you can purchase the item.
I mean, a Wave Cave?! Some of this stuff I doubt I’d ever come across in real life (or on the internet) if it weren’t for this site. I also love the furniture they post. What man doesn’t want an Aviator Chair to sit on while sipping on some Woodford Reserve?
One of my favorite things that I discovered through Uncrate is Moonshine: A Gentleman’s Cologne. Having “a woodsy aroma with hints of spice: including notes of black pepper, tobacco, leather, gin, and patchouli,” this cologne seems like the perfect gift for any man. To be honest, who doesn’t want their man smelling like a very relaxed James Bond while vacationing at his cabin?
Now ladies, on Twitter, I asked one of the founders, Charlie Holderness, if he has heard of any women wearing his cologne, and he responded, “Yes, we’ve actually had several women buy it for themselves. It’s a very subtle scent, not too overpowering, but it smells fantastic.” If Moonshine sounds like something you’d want to wear, GO FOR IT…I think I just might.
So, seriously, if you’re on the hunt for a cool, unique gift for any man in your life, definitely check out Uncrate.com for loads of inspiration. If anything, the website is fun to browse through when you’re bored.
UPDATE: I forgot to acknowledge the fellas that read our blog! If you guys are looking for gift ideas for the ladies in your life, just stop by Village Shoes. Chances are, she already has the next pair of shoes she wants picked out.

photo courtesy of uncrate.com

post by Amanda

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Join Us Friday and Enjoy A Free Cupcake and Coffee from The Cupcake Daily!

Join us Friday December 2nd from 5-7pm to celebrate the season!

As a special thanks for your continued support through out the years we will have the The Cupcake Daily here serving up their divine gourmet cupcakes and Stumptown coffee.

The Cupcake Daily is located in Talent, Oregon. They make all of their cupcakes, frostings and fillings from scratch with the best possible ingredients. This mother and daughter team really know what they are doing! Their goal is to make each cupcake a surprise that awakens your senses.

Please come by and enjoy a free cupcake and coffee with us.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Village Shoes!

Winter Shminter

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is walk over to my windows and open the blinds to see what kind of weather I’m dealing with for the day. During the summer I scowl because everyone I see walking around looks sweaty. During the winter I cringe when I see that people are wearing a gazillion layers. I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m such a scrooge when it comes to weather and I’ll tell you why: I’m a Southern Californian. I was born and raised in Long Beach and we had no weather. None. Not ever. Sure, some days I’d have to wear a jacket with my shorts, but overall, it was just consistently nice outside. Now that I’m a Southern Oregonian and actually have to experience REAL seasonal changes and the weather that’s normal for those seasons, I’ve had a hard time adjusting to the weather and adjusting my attitude. I decided this winter that I need to work on embracing the crisp air by using a mental approach rather than bundling up…

First off, I decided that at least once a week I’m going to put on a bathing suit and turn the heat up in my house. I mean, really let it blast until I’m uncomfortable and then walk around complaining about how hot it is. I’ll go about my house chores, and eventually I’m bound to forget that it is actually 30 degrees outside.

Another thing that I’m going to do is continue eating frozen yogurt and ice cream. They say that smells and tastes spark memories, so I figure if I taste the same frozen yogurt and ice cream flavors that I insisted eating multiple times a day this summer, I’m bound to be transported back to a day where I insisted on complaining endlessly about how freaking hot it was. I’ll also plan on wearing sunblock throughout the winter, which will send me back to warmer times powered by the scent of summer.

I’m hoping these mind tricks will work, and if they don’t, well, I guess a future blog will be about my extreme concern of losing toes to frost bite this winter.

Wish me luck.

post by Amanda

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

25 Ways to Wear a Scarf

It's safe to say I love scarves as much as I like shoes and mac n' cheese. I have a duffel bag in my closet filled with them that vary in size and color, but I seem to wear them all the same way. Another thing is that many of them seem too lightweight to wear during the fall and winter months, so their use is very limited. It turns out I just needed to watch a youtube video about how to wear scarves to make my lightweight scarves usable year round and to give me new ideas as to how to twist and turn that fabric around my bare neck.

Did you notice the 4th example? Notice how she used two lightweight scarves? Why didn't I ever think of doubling up on my scarves to give me extra warmth and an extra pattern or pop of color?

The 6th example made me realize most of my scarves could become an infinity scarf if I just tied the very ends together. WHO KNEW?!

Clearly this girl is craftier than I am even on my best day, but you know, I doubt she knows 25 ways to jazzy up Top Ramen.

post by Amanda

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm In Love! - Holiday Decorating With Felted Acorns

I came across these adorable felted acorns on etsy and simply had to post them. I think they are so sweet and such a great holiday decorating idea. They also make a great gift idea for that hard to buy someone who appreciates arts and crafts.

A set of 10 medium sized felted acorns in Delica's favorite muted but bright colors. Let's spice up the decoration! Each felted acorns are hand felted using softly spun merino wool and then glued to real acorn caps.

A set of 10 medium sized felted acorns in shades of greens. Each felted acorns are hand felted using softly spun merino wool and then glued to adorable real acorn caps.

Lavender-filled felted acorns for an aromatic space!
Six giant sized felted acorns that are filled with highly fragrant Camphor lavender buds from a farm in Oregon.

To see more of the artist's work, check out Delica Handcrafted Delights on Esty. A newcomer to the handmade scene, Delica creates felted home decor and personal accessories from 100% natural merino wool. Each piece is carefully crafted by hand using full felting, needle felting, and wet felting techniques. Started by an architect-in-training, Delica carries eco-friendly products, such as felted bowls, coasters, placemats, pebbles, jewelry, and vessels. Inspired by nature, Delica plays with color, form and texture.

- post by Stacey

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why Should You Support Small Business and Shop Local?

With all the recent political battles consumers are hearing a lot about supporting small independent business, "Shop Local" is becoming as popular as "Green is the new Black." Have you ever asked yourself why? Why is it so important? Does it really matter whether you take that stand? The answer is YES!!! Do you know how spending your money at a small business supports and directly affects your local community? During the last few years the retail climate has been challenging for consumers and businesses everywhere. As the price of goods get more and more expensive and people's budgets get tighter and tighter everyone starts to feel the strain. If you already support local and small business do you ever wonder how big of an impact that actually makes? I'm going to use Village Shoes as an example of the impact your spending has.

Here at Village Shoes we have 5 employees, all of whom have been able to maintained their jobs because of you, the consumer. When you spend your hard earned money in our store, you help keep us employed. In turn, we eat lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, buy our groceries in our local co-op, pay our rent, go to the movies, the theater, etc... which then supports all those people who work in those industries. Hopefully that local restaurant buys organic produce from a local farmer which then helps support sustainable organic living, which is better for the planet and our environment and improves the quality of life for future generations. It all has a ripple affect. When you think of it this way, your spending choices are hugely powerful in determining what kind of world we will live in and you make a big statement. The power is in your hands.

American Express has labeled November 26th as Small Business Saturday! They are issuing a $25 credit to those customers who go out and support a local small business and use their Amex on that day. Join the movement and take a stand for the kind of community you want to be a part of!

- Post by Stacey

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Will Be Wonderful In Your Wooly Whites

I think it’s safe to say that many of us need extra support from an orthotic shoe insert, however many of us would rather go without than spend hundreds of dollars on a custom made pair. Thankfully, Superfeet makes an insert that does the job just as well without forcing you into a Top Ramen diet. Superfeet makes inserts for many types of shoes to help support your feet no matter what your choice in footwear.

At first I thought that more cushion in a footbed meant more support, but quickly learned that isn’t the case at all. Superfeet are actually pretty firm for a reason. The type and amount of support below your foot can affect your legs and your back. The hard, structured Superfeet forces your foot to sit correctly within a shoe, resulting in proper alignment which can help prevent or improve heel, knee, hip, and back problems. Much like the strength of a building depends on a solid foundation; your body depends on your feet just as much.

For tight-fitting footwear
Recommended for dress, casual, cleated, and cycling footwear
Slim, ultra-light support for all foot types

For footwear with removable insoles
Recommended for running, hiking, alpine and industrial footwear
Designed to provide maximum shock absorption

For tighter-fitting footwear
Ideal for running, hiking, casual, and cleated footwear
Our most versatile insole for all-purpose footwear

Insoles for long lasting comfort and support in heels 1" or higher
Support and soothe your feet in even the highest heels
Take the pressure off the ball of your foot for the ultimate in comfort and stability

For women's footwear with removable insoles
Ideal for athletic and industrial footwear
Designed to provide maximum shock absorption for running and high-impact activities

For tighter-fitting footwear with an elevated heel
Ideal for hockey skates, figure skates, and road cycling shoes
New Diamond Venting system improves air circulation

For men's footwear with removable insoles
Recommended for running, hiking, alpine, and industrial footwear
Designed to provide maximum shock absorption for running and high-impact activities

Last but not least, the Wooly Whites (pictured at the top) have the same qualities as the Blue Superfeet, except the Wooly White insoles have a 90% Merino wool top cover that helps manage moisture and regulate foot temperature. Using the Wooly White insoles in your boots will add much needed comfort and warmth as the weather turns cold.

post by Amanda

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Taste Testing Starbuck's Hot Cocoa

Now that the weather has turned cold (or depending on your location, “colder”), we are switching to hot drinks. Like many of you, hot chocolate never crosses my mind during the spring or summer, but as soon as a chilly fall breeze swirls my hair around, I find myself craving it. I’m an adult…I should want hot tea or a hot toddy, but no…I want hot chocolate. I like to think of myself as a Nestle’s Mini Marshmallow kinda gal, but you know, since I’m a fancy adult, I think I should try Starbuck’s Hot Cocoa that they recently rolled out with. They have various flavors to choose from such as Salted Caramel, Peppermint, Double Chocolate, and last but not least, the classic, Toasted Marshmallow. Is there a drink accoutrement more exciting than marshmallows? I think not. Actually, hot chocolate with money floating around would be pretty exciting, but until that day, marshmallows earn gold stars.

I decided to put Starbuck’s Toasted Marshmallow hot chocolate to the test. Furthermore, I decided that the rest of the Village Shoes gals should put their two-cents in as well.

Halle, Molly, and I used whole milk and Stacey used almond milk that we purchased steamed at our local coffee shop, Evo’s.

Here are a few of the comments made while sipping the hot chocolate…

“The marshmallows don’t taste toasted.”

“This is a lot of mix for 8oz of milk.”

“This is definitely on the sweet side.”

“These marshmallows are large, but they’re hard and chewy.”

“Maybe use extra milk if you don’t want it to be too sweet.”

“This is super rich and creamy.”

“Almond milk is great to use to keep it vegan since there is no milk in the mix and it tastes f*@#ing good.”

“I’m surprised by the marshmallows because they have the texture of toasted marshmallows.”

Overall, we all agree that it’s better than any of the other hot chocolate packets we’ve had in the past. Give Starbuck’s Hot Cocoa mix a go and let us know what you think.

post by Amanda

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween In Ashland 2011

Isn't her make-up amazing? Me gusta Dios de los Muertos en Ashland, Oregon!

So many people!

How cool is this dog?

Around 15lbs of candy gone in about 30 minutes! (I ate about 4 lbs of it myself...)

My favorite costumes of the day! Their creativity is overwhelming!

Photos by Stacey Larnerd
Post by Amanda

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waterproof Leather Boots from Portugal!

Bos. & Co. Braga $219

Bos. & Co. Buford $219

I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us want a waterproof boot that doesn’t look waterproof. When I think of a waterproof boot, I think of a shapeless, rubber boot that looks as if I can fit an already shoed-foot into it.

When our new Bos. & Co. waterproof boots arrived, I was pretty surprised to see that they look similar to other fashion boots we have in the store already. The Bos. & Co. boots not only have waterproofed leather, they are also 100% shearling wool lined, giving you added warmth and comfort. By definition, shearling is hide from a recently sheared sheep or lamb that has been tanned and dressed with the wool left on.

These two new boots are here courtesy of Bos. & Co. This company has been family owned and operated since 1976. The Bosco family takes pride in their commitment to developing quality and comfortable footwear that anyone would be delighted to wear. With features like: Soles made from thermo-rubber which remains flexible in cold temperatures, insulated insoles that add warmth and extra comfort, and silicone tanned leather uppers that repel water, not to mention the fabulous fashionable style!

Stop by and try a pair on before the rain, rain won’t go away!

-post by Amanda and Stacey

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Around The Garden, Tennis Anyone? and Exploration Of Color

Around The Garden

Tennis Anyone?

Exploration Of Color

Photos by Stacey Larnerd