Dear Avenue, You Were Dead To Me

UPDATE: Corporate Avenue contacted me about my issue. I was put in touch with a general manager who straightened everything out. She said she would talk to the store manager and that when I went back there would be no problem. I went to the same store to exchange the shoes, even though I was worried about a repeat experience. The sign saying that they didn’t except returns was nowhere to be found. The store manager was super nice and didn’t give me any grief. It seems getting in trouble with upper manager can make people do a 180. I’d like to thank The Avenue for getting everything sorted out for me! Below is the original post.


Avenue, you are dead to me.

I used to like the Avenue, I really did.

Every so often, you could find really cute things there. I personally loved their bras and, recently, their shoes. (Especially because they go up to my size 12 boats.)

BUT, I had a horrible experience with them today. Recently, I purchased a pair of shoes online. The shoes were surprisingly too big. So instead of paying to send them back in, I decided to exchange them at a store.

Call the store to make sure they have the exact ones that I need but in a size smaller. They do. Score!

Drive to the store. Try them on. Decide that, yes, a smaller size would fit much better.

The cashier was very nice, but had to call over a manager to do the exchange. Manager wasn’t very nice to begin with, so maybe I should have been tipped off. While she was working on the exchange, I noticed this sign and promptly snuck this photo:

Thankfully, I wasn’t returning the shoes. I wouldn’t have even purchased from their online store if I couldn’t do in-store exchanges. Paying to ship it back-in-forth just isn’t my deal. So, unless you offer free return shipping, I won’t be ordering from you.

She was in the middle of the exchange when she finally looked at my receipt.

Manager: “These were free.”
Me: “Yeah, I used a coupon.”
Manager: “Well, I can’t exchange them.”
Me: “What do you mean? Why?”
Manager: “You didn’t pay anything for them. You are taking a product out of my store that you didn’t pay for.”
Me: “So you aren’t letting me exchange them?”
Manager: “No.”

At this point, I grab the shoes and leave. As I write this, I wish I would have stayed and put up a fuss. I was just so angry, I had to get out of there.

I am trying to exchange the exact same shoes (minus the size). Everything was the same, down to the color. You are getting the same shoes in return. How am I taking your product? You will have the same product! I am not stealing any money from your store.

I get to my car and decide to call the customer service number.

Once I finally get someone, I explain my deal, and then this happens:

CS: Why wouldn’t they let you exchange?
Me: Because they said I got it for free when I just used a coupon.
CS: Well, they should let you.
Me: Yeah, but they are refusing to.
CS: Well, you can send them in and exchange them.
Me: But then I have to pay. Why should I have to pay for shipping when I am at the store right now? I should be able to just exchange them.
CS: Well, we aren’t affiliated with the stores. You would have to talk to the manager. This is just the costumer service for online Avenue.
Me: She is the one that refused the exchange.
CS: Well, there’s nothing we can do.
Me: Is there someone else I can speak to that could help me? Do you have a number for corporate?
CS: No. You would have to talk to the manager.
Me: So I can’t exchange my shoes unless I pay to ship them back.
CS: Yes … (and then I think she said something else)
Me: Thank you for nothing. (Then I hung up)

I have looked for other number, but I can’t find any.

I am so angry. On their site it says, “Your satisfaction is guaranteed.” I guess they better be taking that down.

Goodbye, Avenue, you have lost a costumer.


May 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm 4 comments

Making a wreath for February/Valentine’s Day

After Christmas, there is always this weird period of time between January and the beginning of spring where I don’t really have anything for my door. I do have a winter wreath that’s just greenery, but I have been looking at that since after Thanksgiving. So, I decided to make a wreath for February. Especially after I saw this one on Pinterest.

BUT, it didn’t have a how-to, so here is what I did to create a version of that wreath.

First, the supplies. You’ll need:
Pins (small, flat head)

I really wanted one of those white foam wreaths, but I couldn’t find one. Plus, the wreath that I got was only $5.

To start, make a knot at the end of the yarn. Then, put a pin through the knot so that it stays in place.


Push the pin into the back and start to wind the yarn around the wreath.

It will be slow going, so don’t get discouraged!

Then just wind and wind and wind. I cut the yarn into manageable pieces and pinned them on. The smaller pieces allow you to get a nice, tight wrap.


I would just use the next piece to go over the pin so you can’t even see them when you look at it.

Wrapping is complete!

And then pick out the colors for your hearts. I picked pink and red since those were the colors I thought were in the Pinterest one, but I also bought white since I thought I might want three colors. I purchased red and pink felt, but I bought white fleece because it wasn’t as see-through as the white felt.

Then, initially I got a template off the Internet to cut out my hearts.

But when I laid them out, I didn’t like them.

So I tossed the template and just free-handed it. I also decided to ditch the pink.

After you cut out all your hearts, arrange them as you would like on the wreath.


Take your yarn and cross it over each heart. Some will stick up, but don’t worry about it.

Once you have them all crossed, get your glue. Use toothpicks (at least that it what I used) to help get the glue down into the hearts.

And once it is dry … it’s finished!

February 3, 2012 at 9:30 am 1 comment

Making a Christmas card wreath

My old card wreath sucked. I couldn’t fit but like 6 cards in it and whenever I went to add a card, half of them would fall out. So this year, I decided to fight back and make my own card wreath (as seen above). (Since I couldn’t find any in the store, much less one that I really liked.) Here is how I made it …

The supplies

My supplies:
Clothespines (I ended up using about 30 of them)
Paint (it doesn’t really matter what colors you pick)
Wooden balls with predrilled holes (I ended up using 14 of each color.)
Wire hoop (I had issues with this, but more on that later.)

The paint

I went with Americana’s Plantation Pine (dark green), Hauser Medium Green and Deep Burgundy.

Testing colors

I did test other colors, but decided to go more wintergreen than bright greens.

Getting ready for paint

I took apart the clothespins to get ready for painting. If you paint them when they are together, you miss a big chunk where the wire is and it’s easier to paint them shut.


I used a disposable bowl for faster cleanup.

One side painted

Paint one side at a time allowing it to dry, otherwise it will stick to the newspaper (if you are using newspaper to protect your table). Some of them needed two coats (especially the dark green), some of them will only need a touch-up.

Letting them dry

You will notice the ones that have bits of paper stuck to them … hint: I tried to paint both sides at once. You can just paint over them and it’s not even noticeable. Score! Plus, if you really mess one up, just point that side to the back.

Pile of dry clothespins

After letting them all dry. It’s now time to put them back together again. This is NOT fun. I did not document this step with photos. I don’t  think the camera would have captured all the cursing going on anyway.

Painting the beads

After painting the pins, or as you let them dry, it’s time to paint the beads. After trying to just paint them, I realized that there was no good way to set them down on the paper without them sticking. Lightblub! If you have any footed glassware get them out, turn two over and get your floral wire (or any wire really).

Put the wire around the base

Attach it to one end, thread the beads onto the wire, then connect it to the other side.

Painted beads

Viola! Instant bead painting station.

Ready to be put on the wire!

So after you get all the springs back on and the beads are dry, it’s time to put them on the hoop.

Gold hoop that didn't work

It took me like three stores to find this metal hoop. Good news: I finally found it, yeah! Bad news: The hoop was too thick to fit through the clothespins. Be careful when picking out hoops for this reason. So it was back to the drawing board …

Second wire hoop

So I took this wire wreath holder (which fit through the clothespins and was the only other metal hoop I could find) and used a pair of wire cutters to get one hoop off. Good thing about doing it this way was that I would get at least two hoops easily (four if I really wanted to work for it) from one.

First try at a pattern

Now comes the time to put it all together. This is the first pattern that I tried. I realized, however, that I didn’t like the light green bead up against the light pin, so I went back and repainted half the light green beads to be dark green. Basically the moral of this tale is to plan your pattern beforehand.

Attaching the ends

So after you get the pattern that you want on and fill the hoop (remember to leave room for the bow), it is time to attach the ends together. Originally, I had grand ideas of using metal glue to put them together. By the time I got to this step though I really didn’t want to wait for anything else to dry. Enter the duct tape. That’s right, I used duct tape. What are you going to do about it?

The tape

I just wound it around a couple of times (after moving it at least twice to get the shape that I wanted). It worked awesomely. Before you make things final, hang it on the wall a couple of times to make sure that it is going to fall how you would like it. Too tight and it won’t touch the wall at all. Too loose and it starts looking like an oval.

Bow-making time

Time to get out the ribbon. Remember to get wired ribbon because it’s easier to work with and will keep it’s shape. I am awful at making bows so I won’t go step-by-step. I’m sure you have a better way to make them than I do. If you are bow-making challenged, you can always just buy one.

Attaching the bow

After the bow is completed, just wind the wire from the bow around the duct tape. Duct tape actually turned out to be a good idea because it kept the bow in place. Ha! There’s a method to my madness.


Then flip it over, find a good place for it on your wall and display the glory that is your new Christmas card wreath!

December 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm 2 comments

Adventures in Christmas Lego-ing Part II

In our second adventure of Lego-ing, (see part I here) we decided to put together the Winter Village Post Office. Topping out at a grand 822 pieces, it is the largest of the sets. Shall we see how it went?

Winter Village Post Office
# 10222
822 pieces

So this is the breakdown of putting together of our second Lego Christmas Village set. (Note: Times are with two grown adults)

The unboxing! While the bags again seemed to have no rhyme or reason to them, the instructions said not to mix them up. We ignored them and opened all the bags together and stored them like we did the last time.

The great sort took 16 minutes. As you can see, there are a lot more pieces than last time. So many so that they were encroaching on our build area. BAD LEGOS.

People were next. Same number of Lego people as the last set, but more accessories. Build time: 3 minutes

Bench area … not really much to say except DOG! (No, we did not have to put him together. The dog is in one piece for our Lego-ing pleasure.) There’s a little training whip/ thing you can put the bone in and the dog is supposed to follow (I usually see it in movies with carrots for horses). We felt that it was inhumane, so it will stay in the box. Built time: 4 and a half minutes.

This truck is so glorious that you are going to bask in it’s glory with another photo!

Every little item that you see on that truck we put together. That license plate? It’s a sticker on a white, flat Lego attached to a hinged grey-colored Lego, which is clipped on a skinny, round stick. (I tried to think of another word, but I just kept thinking of “rod” and that just sounded WAY too dirty. Dammnit, these are toys for children!) Favorite part: Snowshoes on the side. Build time: 31 minutes.

There’s a lovely view of the front and back of the gazebo. Now, this item is all the rage on Lego forums (yes, they do actually exist and people are NUTS about Legos). AND on the reviews it seems to be the consensus that this is the most awesome part to the Post Office set. I would have to disagree, the truck is pretty badass and my favorite part. But alas, maybe they just don’t understand the awesomeness that is getting mail — especially during the holidays! Gazebo build time: 25 minutes. (The sax was difficult to put together … just encase you were wondering what he was holding.)

What you have all been patiently (or you just scrolled down right away … WHATEVER) waiting for … the Post Office. Yes, look at it in all of it’s glory. Cool features for me: mailboxes, how “stones” stick out in places on the fireplace (on the right) and that there is actually a doorknob that we had to put on (just a round cap-like piece). Back in my day, we didn’t have no fancy doorknobs. Kids these days!

Again, note the titled floors! The odd red rod sticking out on the left is the light brick. In the last set, there was no “button” to use the light brick so this was a welcomed addition. I think my husband’s favorite part was the lamppost. There’s even a sorting table in there. AND a sign with rates for sending mail (euros, of course).

Light brick, ACTIVATE! (It’s basically just illuminating the sorting table (at least that’s what I call it). Build time for the post office: 2 hours.

Completed Winter Village Post Office set

Complete build time for the Village Post Office set: 3 and a half hours (give or take a couple ten minutes).

I like this set more than the Bakery. Again, it might be my love for the mail, but to me, the Post Office holds more Christmas memories for me. We would always bake our own cookies — it’s tradition!  I do agree that the Bakery has a couple of extra holiday touches — like lights and such. BUT, I would argue that the Post Office has wreath-like things and cute adorable snow drifts on the roof. Hello, SNOW DRIFTS! I can see the growth from the first set — lots more colors, more mechanisms at work and more accessories. I wish you could buy more trees. Hell, you probably can, I just haven’t looked.

Did we want to kill each other again? Apparently that answer is YES. I was informed that I was hogging the building time. Well, excuse me. My motto: Every Lego-builder for herself. must work as a team. Team building is the greatest thing ever. Or, he could just let me BUILD ALL THE LEGOS!

November 16, 2011 at 5:35 am 2 comments

Adventures in Christmas Lego-ing Part I

This September, I discovered that the most awesome thing existed … LEGO CHRISTMAS VILLAGE. Yes, you read that correctly. A Christmas village made out of Legos. So after buying the two sets that were out (thankfully it was only two years old so I didn’t have a ton to buy to catch up). Sad thing though was that I had to wait for this year’s set to come out. So after patiently waiting until October, I am now a proud owner of all three sets.

Sets that are out:

Winter Village Bakery
# 10219
687 pieces

Winter Toy Shop
# 10199
815 pieces

Winter Village Post Office
# 10222
822 pieces


OK, don’t get mad. I know that after Halloween comes Thanksgiving. I know this, I do. However, I just can’t get as excited about turkey as I can for Santa and presents and lights and … you get the idea. So realizing that it is only two and a half weeks until Thanksgiving, I really need to get on the ball. There are crafts to be made, a photo to take for Christmas cards, cookie-exchange party to plan, etc. AND the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the day that we decorate. It’s the first year with the Lego sets and I didn’t know how long it would take to put up. It could cut into precious ornament time or something.

Therefore the only logical decision that I could come to was to build a Lego Christmas set every Sunday.

So this is the breakdown of putting together of our first Lego Christmas Village set. (Note: Times are with two grown adults)

The box.

Opening the box, there are several bags that make you think they are organized by building/item that you have to build. That is NOT the case. These are just randomly bagged.

So we opened all the bags and sorted everything by color and then size. This helped out tremendously. Sorting took 12 minutes.

After sorting, we just followed the extensive step-by-step directions in the book provided. First step, put together all the people. This took almost 3 minutes.

Next, we put together the tree stand. Tree Stand took 4:32.

Wagon took 8:20.

Ice rink was very interesting to put together. It took 15 minutes.

Saving the best for last … the bakery. The bakery, which is comprised of most of the pieces, is really detailed.

This is the bakery from the back.

There is title for the flooring for god’s sake. It was amazing to put together. I couldn’t believe it — these are not the Lego sets from my youth. (Course, I never got the pricey sets anyway, so maybe they are?)

Bakery window with the light on.

There are lots of mechanics that go into the sets, like all the hinges and things (also a light brick!). If not for the step-by-step directions, I feel that I would not have been able to put this together.

Looking inside the door toward the cash register


Total bakery time comes in at a whopping 1 hour and 8 minutes.

Completed set

Total time: Roughly 1 hour and 49 minutes.

I would highly recommend this set. It is ridiculously adorable. It did take a little longer than I thought to put together, but it was fun. I think it is a little more difficult — my hands are a lot bigger now, but still fun. Did I want to strangle my husband at times? Yes. But I’m sure the feeling was mutual. But, we survived and it’s built. I’m calling it a win. So that’s the bakery. Next up … Winter Village Post Office.

November 7, 2011 at 2:06 am 4 comments

Fattie Fall Fashion 2011 Edition

Oh, Fall, I love thee so.

Only thing I despise (besides raking leaves) is matching up socks because I have to put my flip-flops away. That’s a sad day for all.

About this time, I lust after a new wardrobe. I don’t really have that many cold-weather items that I love anyway so I always find myself window shopping for them even though I have no cash flow for which to stock my closet. Thus I give you fall items I’m lusting after and would buy if I were rich.

I don’t really shop at Nordstrom (see money issue above), but they have really stepped up their game in the plus-size department. There were several items where I went , “SQUEE, SO CUTE!”

I am just loving flowy dresses. Does this dressscream Fall or what?

Ellen Tracy Belted Chiffon Dress

ECI Tie Neck Stretch Silk Shirtdress

I have always lusted after sweater dresses. I have never found one that was actually looked good on me (I end up looking super frumpy and boxy), but maybe this is the one? A girl can hope, right?

Love Squared Short Sleeve Cable Sweaterdress

I don’t generally have that much luck with sweaters in general. Lots of plus-size ones are just big and bulky and seem to have one goal in mind: Cover up the fattie! I want mine to be cute, dammit! Plus-size sweaters tend to lack any pattern at all. The “regular” sizes will have cute designs, but then, starting with 1X, they go to just one solid color. UGH. This is why I tend to just layer a lot. And cardigans tend to OK for the most part.

Super adorable.

American Rag Plus Size Cardigan

I love cute jackets. I have a khaki corduroy one that I got at Old Navy years and years ago that I still wear. It has seen better days, but I just can’t give it up yet. Here are some other ones that I’m crushing on. I don’t really understand why all of these don’t have long sleeves, but they are so cute to make a big deal about details.

Charcoal Stripe Jacket

I really wish this one didn’t have a hood! Otherwise, it’s super cute!

Black and White Stripe Jacket with Hood 

I have always wanted cool rain boots. My gigantic feet and colossus calves have generally thwarted my attempts, but the Avenue has come through! I’m not a big fan of animal print, but I think they are pretty adorable, plus they go up to my size (12) which I can NEVER find in anything that looks remotely feminine (read hunting boots). So I’ll probably give them a chance (especially because they are on sale now).

Moxee Leopard Rain Boots
$49.90 ($39.99 right now)

Why can’t these come in any other colors??? Gray or black? I mean really. I got super cute tall (gray) boots last year, now I just need short boots … guess I’m still looking. Oh, I didn’t even realize, but these don’t even come in my size. Torrid shoes normally go up to 12, must be the “Fergi” label … guess I’m glad they don’t have them in black. I’ll keep a look out for similar ones though.

Fergalicious by Fergie
Val Brown Double Buckle Ankle Boot


Well, that’s it for now … I’ll just be over here drooling.

October 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm 1 comment

Fatties have money for fashion, too!

I was recently sent a link to CNN’s article “Plus-sized women: It’s our turn for fine fashion.” The article  takes a look at the fashion industry and why they aren’t catering to fat people, etc. I thought it was a great article — even though a little fluffy (hee). It doesn’t even bring up how we need to lose weight once (which is such a rarity and much-needed change). I even loved some of the clothes that were showcased at the top.

I seriously want this dress. It is Anastasia maxi dress by Sealed With A Kiss Designs. It shows up in the fourth slot in the slideshow in the article. It looks so flowy and fun. WANT WANT WANT.


The other piece that I loved was the shirt above. It is a Chateau chiffon tunic by Kiyonna. It will probably make me look pregnant, but the model is rocking it!

Seriously, if fat clothes loved more like these, I would be in heaven!  I went shopping last weekend, I ended up with a pair of jeans (which is actually great for me), but still. ONE pair of pants. I was ready for a shopping spree!

My problem is that I hate online clothes shopping. As you know, women’s clothing sizes can vary in different colors of the same shirt. So, understandably, I can be wary of buying unfelt, not tried on stuff. Don’t even get me started on shipping charges. So most of the time I have to resort to what’s in the stores. Which is HORRIBLE. I always joke that once you locate the dark corner of the store which is the “Women’s” section, you know it because the clothes get ugly and looks like they are from the 1990s (and sometimes ’80s). (I’m pretty sure that’s the last time lots of stores updated the section.)

I was happy to see the article and excited about the potential for cute clothes. This excitement was dampened when I looked below the article. I know, my fault, but I couldn’t help it.

This leads me to the question, why does every article on plus-sizes or fattie fashion turn into a fat people bashing in the comments?

I normally don’t read the comment section on articles for this very reason. However, I thought maybe this time it would be different, but I people too much credit.

Let’s look at some of the awesome comments from the peanut gallery.

What does this have to do with the fashion article that was written?
“You do deserve a level of hostility considering overweight and unhealthy people raise the overall cost of health care.”

Wow, thanks for this: “Overall, fashionable clothes or not, no one looks good in size 20.” I choose to take this out of context and think maybe she’s talking about if the person isn’t actually size 20. Someone calls her out that fat guys play football, she counters with “I meant ladies’ size 20 :)” First of all, I want to slap that smile off her face. Secondly, why is it OK for guys to be fat  , but not women. Oh, wait, she continues … “We all have issues – mine is to get through to people who are under the fat spell.” What do you think this “fat spell” could be? Are we all just fat because we all have curses on us? Are we actually in the world of Harry Potter? FAT MUGGLE AND PROUD!

Lots of the comments said something to the effect of “There shouldn’t be fat clothes because we don’t deserve them.” We don’t deserve to have clothes? Really? Somehow I think that having all the fat people you despise walking around naked would defeat your point. It would just make our lovely lumps and bumps be in your face even more, so think about that.

I would keep going, but I am just getting angrier and angrier. So some of the nice highlights from the comments:

Annie1979: “Ah, the last allowable discrimination in this country. If these comments were anti gay ,anti black, anti Jewish, anti anything else, this comment board as well as the article provoking such hate would’ve been pulled immediately. The models look beautiful and despite what many of the folks writing these comments think (because they are all perfect in every way, I’m sure) these ladies are people with lives and lovers and friends and families and careers and morals!”

Canada411: “I’m just gonna come out and say it.  These are not PLUS SIZED women, these are NORMAL SIZED women.”

suz321: “I always find it interesting when there’s an article about anorexia, the majority of comments are compassionate and understanding of it being a medical condition.  But when there’s an article like this one about overweight women, the majority of the comments are judgmental and verbally abusive.”

So, to end things, any light that we can shed on the lack of fat fashion the better! Stores need to realize that fatties have money, too! Money that spends just as well as skinny money.

June 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm 2 comments

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