The Shopper…(denier cri)



When I shop it’s not shopping, although I most likely have the time of my life,  & the therapy, oh the therapy, however I set out on a mission to find the world’s greatest deals. For some that may seem like a task but for me, It’s a competitive pleasure & I compete with myself & sometimes even my own willpower to “not” go above what my spending goals are in total & per item. Sounds like more work than play hunh? Well not for me,  I’m particular about the stores I frequent. Thrift stores, discount stores & buy, sell, trade shops are at the top of my list then for those regular retails stores the clearance & sale sections are my muse. I go into regular stores with my eyes on the prize. I literally avoid the front of the store at all costs (no pun intended). The front of the store is the enemy. It’s ok to treat yourself from time to time but everything in front will at some point in time during that season or even within the next 3 weeks wind up in the back with all the other treasures. If you always keep that in mind you’ll win everytime. It’s safe to say that Urban Outfitters is my favorite store. But I’ll do you one better they have a Surplus store in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of my hometown Chicago. The Surplus carries items from their regular store of which they are simply trying to get rid of, great for me because anytime I can find a duster originally priced at $300 for only $14 or a pair of Ecoté White Crackle Leather boots originally priced at $200 for only $39 or even a pair of black leather Dolce Vita boots originally priced at $300 for only $19 count me in!  If you ever visit this store then is when you’ll understand the love I have for this place. It embodies my free spirited hipster love for fashion, home, beauty & music. I visited the store this Wednesday to shop for my daughter but still left with a couple jewels for myself. These very pointy black SUEDE (yes suede) oxfords by Silence + Noise were only $5.00 can you believe that? & these pointy toe wing tipped silver metallic oxfords (with an all leather inner) by Miista were only $40 both a steal! Tell me about how I should be locked up for leaving that store with such amazing deals! Pace yourself when you journey out to your next shopping venture & set goals. When you stick to what you want you’ll have a successful bargain shopping adventure & before you know it you’ll be a bargain shopping maniac, just like me!

The Pasta Bowl…(vittles)


So I’m a Northsider at heart, I practically do everything up there, though I reside on the Southside of Chicago & was born & raised in Englewood. Last Tuesday I was in Lincoln Park doing some trading at Crossroads. On the way there my daughter spotted The Pasta Bowl located at 2434 N. Clark, she & I are diehards for Italian food, pasta & cheese to be precise. I was working on a tight budget & I do mean TIGHT but nevertheless wouldn’t dare pass on a chance to spend time with her or check out a restaurant I’ve never been to. When I wrapped up my trading we decided to try them out. A tad bit reluctant about my funds I thought I’d review the menu posted outside before entering, to my surprise it was extremely budget friendly for Italian. We were greeted warmly at the door & had the luxury of seating ourselves. We both knew exactly what we were going to order. Our waiter was amazing, asked if we had ever dined in The Pasta Bowl establishment & offered us an appetizer on the house to get us better acquainted with them. We chose the Garlic Cheese Bread priced at only $3.75 for 5 pieces (not large but satisfying). Given that I was working with a strict budget I thought what better choice than to assure we have bread with our pasta, which we love as well. To our surprise our entries came with bread. I would’ve been exceptionally pleased had there been olive oil & parmesan crumbs at our table as I felt it was needed. I ordered the


Farfalle Pollo bowtie pasta and grilled chicken served with sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, cream, pecorino cheese, mushrooms, and basil.

At a mere $8.50, let me tell you how amazeballs this dish was! I absolutely LOVE sun-dried tomatoes. My dish was perfect, service was very swift and attentive. Aside from the expected parking disgruntlement you may encounter, (I actually found a spot directly in front) which is customary when being up North, the overall experience was super!!! It’s going to be a regular for me, I can guarantee that.

Crissy LaJoy