Friday, December 18, 2009


SE has well and truly set in. It begins with a short sharp burst of pain rejecting the notion of baring the weight of yet another gleefully overfilled designer bag and ends in a constant thudding ache. I’m fairly certain in other parts of the world this affliction goes under the guise of RSI and I suspect Repetitive Strain Injury seems way more substantial and far less frivolous but the reality is; I have Shoppers Elbow.

We are on Day Three of our Hawaiian procurement and today is serious. This is the endurance event of the shopping week, the other Hawaiian Marathon if you will?

Having done the Waikele junket many times I am pleased to hear of the new shuttle service being provided by Chelsea Premium Outlets for only $5 each way. It has always baffled me that hordes of tourists visit this gargantuan assemblage of great quality outlets annually only to pay a premium getting there in the first place. In years gone by I have traveled there by the Trolley (an outdoor tram like bus, that takes 40 minutes to get there and stops a maddening number of times along the way) for $25 p/p each way, by limo (expensive but fun) at approx $100 return and by hire car (handy for frequent trips to the boot with loot but off-putting to arrive back to scars of screwdriver intrusion in the door locks) approx $50 for the day + insurance and replacement ‘gas.’

Post missing the shuttle out to Waikele because the Concierge gave us the wrong bus stop location (convinced it was his fault and not mine), we negotiate with Warren, a good humoured Japanese American that we learn on our trip out has eight cars in his fleet that he either runs as limos or taxis pending available work. We negotiated him down to $45 from the usual $60 taxi rate and travel in the comfort of an LTD. Warren enlightens us on many historical tales throughout the brisk 25 minute journey and we take his card with the intention of negotiating a trip to the Northshore later in the week.

The pieces of advice that will be most valuable to you upon reaching Waikele are:

• Book the shuttle back the minute you arrive for the trip home. You may need to bring the time forward or push it back but at least you have a booking.
• If you can avoid it, don’t go to the Outlets on a Saturday or Sunday. Monday is a great day to go because new stock is unpacked to replenish what went over the weekend.
• Get your hands on a coupon book from the Information Booth before you part with any cash. Extra discounts won’t always apply but it’s worth asking for an additional 25% off!

My modus operandi is hit the store you think you will buy the most from first, that way if you don’t get the items you thought you would there you don’t have to backtrack to other stores later. In my case it is True Religion. I’m not sure how many others in Australia are converts of True Religion but oh dear. These jeans live up to their namesake. You can expect to pay around $350 upwards pending style and embellishments in Australia. At the Outlet store, from $79.00. Happily snapping up 4 pairs next is Armani Exchange where we get a great assortment of summer tops and some cute jackets, along with some nice smart casual tops for the fellas.

These two stores saw us with a decent collection within the first hour. Michael Kors is always a pleasure and the price of handbags from small clutches to large over-the-shoulder numbers is unbelievable. Small clutches and handbags from $69 to large totes starting at $119, not to mention the additional 25% off you receive for spending $200. Not hard to spend a pretty penny in here, but remember these items are bulky and will have to fit in your suitcase or carry-on.

If you’re smart and can sweet talk the girls behind the counter they may allow you to leave those purchases plus your first two store purchases with them for a few hours.

This frees you up to go absolutely rampant in Saks 5th Avenue, which once you see the vast array on offer – you will. Rows and rows of shoes from Manolos, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Coach, Juicy Couture and Stuart Weitzman. Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo were on average $250USD with Coach and Juicy Couture from around $70USD. Mens Hugo Boss and Boss shoes from a crazy $130USD, where you will pay approximately $550 in Boss Stores in Australia when not on sale. Sunglasses are another big winner at Saks with labels like; Fendi, Gucci, Dior and Prada from around $60USD.

With the full knowledge there is no way we can carry what is still sitting at Michael Kors as well as what we have just bought, we slink past the store and have a swift browse in Coach before entering Ralph Lauren.

Ralph Lauren is one of those stores at the Outlets that you just never know what you’re going to get; as such you need to be open minded about it. Some years when I visit the guys hit the jackpot, others it’s the girls. This year, thank goodness, it’s the gal’s year.

Polo team polo shirts and shirt dresses from a ridiculous $27USD, a gorgeous Ralph Lauren Black Label satin wrap around ruffle dress shirt for $39USD and loads of little kid’s cutes dresses, polos and skirts. The entire family was clothed with this visit; 19 items for $524USD. Insane stuff!

Beginning to notice our somnolent state we formulate the plan for the last hour and execute it with exactitude.

Struggling to carry the bags we’ve reflexively obtained we disembark at Michael Kors to bring together the entire days haul. Whether out of embarrassment or pure necessity I am unsure, we consolidate, triple bag and discard any superfluous packaging. Still drawing attention from passersby as we make our way to the shuttle and that’s when the SE strikes its final malicious blow. Over the shoulder the bags go!

As we trudge onto the shuttle with 14 Japanese tourists who seem to be afraid they will miss out despite allocated seating, we realize the shuttle out and a car back would have been a good deal smarter.

Arriving back at the Hotel we lumber to the room with great effort. We unpack the bare minimum and head out for a well deserved dinner and a drink.

Limping into the Sunset Bar the barman smiles courteously and shows us to our table, “so you did the marathon?”

Oh yes, we certainly did.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Whether they are a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s, Jimmy Choos, or just an ordinary pair of high street shoes, more than 92 per cent of women could remember the first shoes they bought with their own money, according to an article published in the UK’s Telegraph.

Amusingly less than two in three recalled the name of the person they first kissed, a survey found.

An overwhelming 96 per cent of women said they regretted having thrown away a pair of shoes, while only 15 per cent felt sorry at dumping a boyfriend.

More than 1,000 women were questioned about their feelings towards their footwear and what they could remember about their shoes compared to their relationship memories.

Experts said the reasons behind women’s fondness for footwear were down to their shoe buying habits.

Many women buy a new pair of shoes for a special occasion, like a wedding, birthday or special party.

And much to their partner's annoyance, many women hang on to old shoes, building up a sizeable collection by middle age, even if many go unworn most of the time.

The survey was carried out for an organization that sells innovative shoe storage solutions.

Glendon Lloyd, director of website, which commissioned the survey, said: "These results show that women are even more attached to their footwear than previously thought.

Huh? Where has this guy been hiding? I would like to know what man has the misguided perception that women aren’t fervently attached to their footwear? Every man I know is aware of this fact.

"People always think of women storing old love letters in a shoebox, but in many cases, the shoes themselves are even more precious."

"Women treat shoes like best friends. And it seems their footwear memories last longer than those of their past lovers.

Apparently previous research has shown that the average woman has 19 pairs of shoes but only wears four pairs regularly and one quarter of the average woman's shoes have only been worn once.

One in six women has more than 30 pairs of shoes in their closets, while a third have trouble finding the room to store them all.

On average, women purchase four pairs of shoes per year. Clearly, I am not your average woman...

(Image Credit:

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Monday, December 14, 2009


I’m sure there are many things one should do subsequent to a miniscule 3 ½ hours sleep but I am fairly certain shopping in a sale Mecca is not one of them.

After a stellar flight to Honolulu via JetStar’s Star Class (no significant difference from Qantas Business, I should also point out that despite two JetStar plugs in two days I am not being paid to promote the airline). My friend and I are primed and geared up for a full day of shopping post touchdown. We discussed and agreed on a strategy and were both equally committed to fulfilling it. Hotel check-in, shower, power-change, Ala Moana Shopping Mall.

With all that is happening on Ohau at this moment; Mick Fanning announced the victor (surfing on the North Shore in twelve to fifteen meter waves) and every conceivable human being in Honolulu seemingly cramming last minute training in for tomorrow’s Marathon, who could be tired? How could we not be up for the challenge? We’ve been training for this since January.

The ever hospitable Hilton Hawaiian Village Ali’i Tower accommodated us with our room nice and early at 8.30am, clearly a sign that our well laid out plan had an obligation to be executed. We emerge face washed, showered and in comfortable (but Chic) shoes twenty minutes later and set out for our target.

Some may think that after stomping these pavements for ten years they would begin to lose their gloss - be less attractive and look a little tired. Not so. With all their Festive cheer and welcoming stalkers (aka shop assistants on commission) they are a tired travelers Nirvana.

Neiman Marcus shoe sale was a bit of a fizzer but we were rewarded post disappointment with a fairly spectacular sale at Gucci; $183 for patent purple ballet flats and $229 for beige monogram stamped platform pumps – thank you shoe Gods! Yep, tiredness unquestionably dissipated for now.

Enter the beat box heaving Juicy Couture where we both pick up a hip decent sized handbag and a pair of ballet flats each for an infinitesimal $209. Crazy.

After losing ourselves in the gargantuan Victoria’s Secret boutique for quite some time we hoped to materialize like the angels we felt like in the change room. Sadly, the queue for the cashier left us feeling a little more like we’d just left the sample bag pavilion at the Ekka, notwithstanding the great bargains.

The hallowed hall of Jimmy Choo left us breathless with new stock and sale items alike. Herein lays another great contributor to the Hawaiian shopping whirl. New stock is actually very reasonably priced in comparison to our retail cost in Australia. A divine animal print and metallic clutch seen in Sydney’s Boutique for over a thousand dollars was originally priced at $795, a cost saving regardless with our dollar where it is right now. Queue loud cheers of delight, 50% off! A further two pairs of Jimmy Choos for under $250 each are bestowed upon us.

Keen to spread the love and ever grateful to Rose at Jimmy Choo for holding our already substantial shopping bags for two hours, we have a little flutter at 7 – For All Mankind. The flutter breaks into a bolt when there are a dozen varietals of 7’s cult jeans on sale for $109 per pair. Let’s just say 7 may have collected, particularly when for spending an extra $24 one can get a further $100 off the total...

Armani Exchange provided its usual afternoon delight of great belts, tops, t-shirts and dress shirts, an excellent combination of personal purchases and gifts. Our last dalliance at Dior for the day won’t be discussed too heavily as there may be a Christmas gift involved. What I will say is that up to 60% off was a wonderful treat!

Six hours of power shopping and significant sums of cash dished out, the sudden awareness we had only circumnavigated the ground floor of Ala Moana hits us and a decision is made to go home, regroup, stocktake and calculate the financial damage. We can do the upper level tomorrow.

We’ve certainly spent enough for today. Delighted customers with seventeen shopping bags combined, we taxi back to the Hotel. The spending for the day is over.

Right after we grab that bottle of Moët from the ABC Store for $43 to celebrate.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009


Impossible not to love the very first sneak peak of Sex & the City's 2nd round promo poster. Love!

The gals don't reach our screens until May 2010, but this is certainly reason to look forward to it. Thanks Sassi Sam for sharing it with us!

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Seems like a perfect time to re-post Tracey's article in August's Jetstar Magazine. Flying Jetstar's Star Class on Saturday - will keep you posted:

Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is one of the world’s most exotic cities. Encapsulating a modern vitality with the delightful charm of old Hawaiian, it reverberates with Aloha, the spirit of welcome.

Tony Roma’s – A Place For Ribs, for a casual lunch or dinner of ribs, seafood and steak. I recommend the baby back ribs with half an onion loaf to start. Not healthy, but a must try!

Walking through Waikiki at night, wandering in and out of the Boutiques (especially during sale time @ Christmas), followed by shopping at the International Market Place. Be sure to stop at the Yard House on Waikiki Beach Walk for a drink.

MUST BUY (Money no object!):
A bottle of Moët at 2am for US$35 (AUD$43.50) at Hawaii’s 24 hour convenience stores called ABC – just because you can!

Waikele Premium Outlets is a must-do day trip, about 25 minutes’ drive from Waikiki. You’ll find great American brands such as; Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger as well as imports. Purchase a voucher book for US$5 (AU$6.20) and it will save you lots of money.

Hire a car and drive around Oahu island. The winter waves at North Shore are incredible and you may get to see a pro surfer or two? The shrimp vans at the side of the ring road are excellent lunch stops.

It’s relaxed, casual and laid back, with some great bargains to be had. There’s something remarkable about sky-high palm trees, white sandy beaches and the Waikiki sunset.

Go to Jestar Magazine

(Image of Tracey published in Jetstar Mag by Michael Greves)

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Perusing the sparsely laid out clothes I have fastidiously fashioned around my suitcase, I speculate whether five pairs of stilettos is five pairs too many for my Hawaiian getaway?

In a land where the bare foot and a Muumuu are considered acceptable attire (along with the haul I intend to lug from Neiman Marcus on day one), I may need to rethink the contents of my luggage.

Rationalizing that weather permitting and while not in stores burrowing through pre Christmas sales, I will spend the majority of my time by the pool or in a beach-like state, I may need give my inner nervous self a good wake up slap and do what I always say I will do. Pack the absolute bare minimum. The problem occurs when defining what the absolute bare minimum is.

It seems irrelevant that countless people remind me throughout my packing assignment that I am staying at a tropical island resort where I will only need bikinis and some kind of beach wrap. In addition, Hawaiian sales will be a glorious up to 75% off and I’ll be amongst them within two hours of landing. I know I will still pack way too many clothes and shoes.

The fact eighty percent of my suitcase contents becomes redundant the minute I land at the airport seems to matter little, except for the moment I am trying to jostle it back into the case to depart along with countless other items I have purchase throughout the week.

The most ridiculous part of this equation is that after I cull my dress shoe cartage to the bare minimum; one pair of wedges and one pair of stilettos, I realize that by day five I probably won’t have worn either. That is not to say I won’t have had the chance, I have no doubt I will have been to at least two different fine dining restaurants by this stage. I just won’t be bothered getting too dressed up, choosing to opt for the more casual alternative.

Somehow, I disregard this actuality and the sentiment of ‘Hawaiian Time,’ an all-encompassing attitude that covers everything from what you do, when you do it and the manner in which you execute it.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of having Aloha purred at them the minute the tarmac presents itself this may be an odd notion. I also know that it’s a certainty that once I’ve inadvertently procure some Gucci what I have in my luggage is inconsequential.

I’m not quite sure what it is about new shoes that compel one to wear them immediately if not sooner but I know this does and will happen.

Oh well, with any luck I’ll send this baby into stowage with the absolute minimum – whatever that turns out to be…

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Friday, December 04, 2009


Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States and marks the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. I’ve always been a little puzzled as to why this day is termed Black Friday. Despite the potential for feeling a little dusty immediately following the merriment of gorging oneself on turkey and adult beverages, I’m at a bit of a loss.

Australian’s are accustomed to the notion of any Friday falling on the thirteenth day of the month resulting in paranoid caution being handed out by those who’ve surrendered to superstition. Given this date is well into its twenties it terminates this reasoning. Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States so Black Friday occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November.

Of the utmost significance in my confusion regarding this matter is that this day isn’t merely the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, it marks the beginning of some of the greatest sales you will come across in the US. Strangely termed, the Black Friday sales? Maybe I’m missing something but seventy percent off high-end designer goods does not strike a ‘black’ cord with me? The only uneasiness about discovering patent animal print Louboutin heels in my size at $214USD is the woman hovering over me seemingly waiting for me to discard them.

In Australia, and more specifically the ‘Smart State’, we hold sales on Boxing Day and usually throw open the doors of our shopping Meccas to a throng of eager procurers at the usual scheduled time of store opening. The United States on the other hand has shopping malls that open at midnight on the evening of Thanksgiving. Midnight. Surely only the truly dedicated are fronting stores at that time of night post Thanksgiving feasts and alcoholic egg drinks?

According to Reuters, in 2007, 135 million people participated in the Black Friday shopping rush. While Black Friday is not an official holiday many employees have the day off as part of the Thanksgiving holiday, increasing the number of potential shoppers. Despite some midnight kick offs, most retailers typically open at 5 or 6AM. Similarly to the Australian Boxing Day sales, upon opening, retailers offer doorbuster deals to draw crowds to their stores.

The term dates back to at least 1966 and has become more common in other parts of the United States since 2000. According to Wikipedia; Black Friday originated in Philadelphia in reference to the heavy traffic on that day. More recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red (i.e., posting a loss on the books) to being in the black (i.e., turning a profit).

While I have never felt the need to wait in line with hundreds of people at midnight or to arrive at 5am, I am a veteran of the Black Friday Sales in Hawaii with this year marking my tenth. A special anniversary of sorts.

Albeit a little later than usual, the insider Blog to pre Christmas sales in Hawaii will be posted from December 12th.

(Image Credit: Wikipedia - Black Friday Shoppers 2009)

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