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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