Wouldn't it be great if only you could find things you wanted to buy, just by checking out blogs on the Internet? Kidding, of course.
As we all know, couch consumerism is huge and getting huge-er.
Every day -- no, probably every hour -- someone is starting a new blog about beauty, fashion and home stuff you can acquire. The number of words devoted to eye creams and handbags alone is a little alarming.
How can anyone care that much about makeup ("The Encyclopedia of Mascara," beautyaddict.blogspot.com) or the clutch handbag ("Shallow Obsessing Strongly Encouraged, purseblog.com)?
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For me, shopping is a passion, but like most serious passions there's a lot of touching involved. I've always contended that I needed to go into the store, see stuff, feel it, pick it up, try it on.
Blogs and buy-it-here shopping Web sites weren't how I wanted to spend my valuable browsing time.
That's what friends are for. Lucky for me, I've got a network of savvy family, pals and co-workers to send me links of appealing items when they go to their favorite blogs.
After spending some time on these sites, I'm converted. There are some real finds here that will keep you coming back -- without leaving home. Take a look:
Several snappily turned out pals recommended The Sartorialist (www.thesartorialist.blogspot.com), street snaps of extremely well put together people, especially fashion insiders, who seem to spend a fortune on their clothes but in a good way -- not just showy designer labels.
But my friend Cheryl isn't crazy about sartorialist because, "His (Scott Schuman's) eye seems to be drawn to the very thin, very fashionable sort, and it's hard to find inspiration in that look when I am not 5 feet 11 inches and 108 pounds." Cheryl recommends fashionist (http://fashioni.st/) for blogger Mai's San Francisco street fashion photos and sidewalk chats.
"But honestly," Cheryl continues, "For pure inspiration in putting together looks, I ADORE Tokyo Street Style (http://www.style-arena.jp/index_e.htm). It can't be beat."
NOT JUST BEAUTY
In addition to New Yorker Kristen Kelley's beauty addict (http://beautyaddict.blogspot.com/), check out a site recommended by two pals, Emily and Kelly: outblush (www.outblush.com). "It's really product roundups (not just makeup) -- all of them girlie -- but I generally agree with the taste of the items chosen and I like how I can just click on the link and it takes me to the product to buy," Kelly says.
Jackie Ostrowski, a frequent guest writer on my blog, says the L.A.-based Closet Therapy (http://blog.closettherapyblog.com )"is a nice mix of beauty and fashion."
And Liz wants you to know about The Daily Obsession (http://thedailyobsession.net). She points out -- and I totally agree -- that many shopping blogs "inject a little too much personality (rather) than providing something useful to the reader. Not the case with this one."
"Relax. We're going to tell you what to buy," claims SheFinds (http://shefinds.com/blog/). Among its fans is Chicago jewelry designer Erin Gallagher, who says, "I love that they highlight a YSL tote for $1,895 but also include the attainable look-alike for $52."
Other Gallagher picks are Second City Style (http://secondcitystyle.typepad.com/) and the useful Aesthetics + Economics (http://aestheticspluseconomics.typepad.com).
Vogue magazine's style.com (www.style.com) has a loyal following and is certainly chock full of information if a little high end and more aspirational than practical (check out the forums and style file blog).
My bud Jackie also likes Purseuing (www.purseuing.com), which lists 16 different styles of bags (including diaper and pet). It seems virtually every woman with a purse fetish hits the aforementioned The Purse Blog (purseblog.com).
The Chicago Tribune's plugged-in retail reporter Sandra Jones suggests ecofabulous (http://ecofabulous.blogs.com/) "for luxury green goods" and TreeHugger (http:// treehugger.com) for "eco-friendly goods in general."
Chicago Tribune Home and Garden assistant editor Cindy Dampier says her "No. 1 pick" is Design Sponge (http://designspongeonline.com/), which I am now in love with. It's got a ton of useful information and links and isn't a bunch of high-end stuff that I can only drool over.
Cindy and friend of a friend, Yvette, give high marks to apartment therapy (www.apartmenttherapy.com). "I could keep on looking at those home tours until my eyes fall out," says Cindy, and "they have a great furniture classified section where you can sometimes find really cool stuff at great prices."
BUT NOT LEAST ...
Co-worker Kristin recommends daddytypes.com (http://daddytypes.com/), which she describes as "baby stuff written from a hipster NYC dad's perspective." But, great news: It's not just for dads. I found it oddly entrancing and fun to read. Plus, there were a couple of products that would look great in my babies-all-grown-up household.
And in the saving the best-for-last category, your reward for reading all the way to the end here, is Kristin's recommendation of mighty Goods.com (http://goods.com/). She says it has picks that "are categorized by recipient. Great for gift ideas. Very concise." And so much more!
All I can tell you is that before I could finish typing the above sentence, I had to send links to two of the terrific well-priced items I found there to my friend Cheryl. Now that's a find!