Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Kate Dabkey Shoes – Clearance August 18, 2014

Filed under: Kate — Uncharted @ 11:39 am
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I have bittersweet news. As you may know from my bio, I started my own company in 2009 where I design and sell fabulous women’s shoes. They exude confidence, ambition and class and I am proud to have my name on them. The shoes are handmade overseas and use high quality materials to keep the shoes comfortable and clean. I’ve worn all four pairs around town for years and they are some of my favorite shoes.

So here’s the bitter part: Kate Dabkey Shoes is clearancing ALL Shoes. The inventory needs to move out and our doors are shutting. We’re in the process of updating prices on the website, but plan to get a pair in your size before they’re gone for good! It is always an honor to attend an event and see someone wearing a pair of my shoes and I hope you will love them as much as I do!

Here’s the sweet part: it’s time to start a new venture. Though I had a wonderful time designing shoes, it’s time to try something new and different. I don’t know what it is yet, but when I do, I will certainly let everyone know. Thanks for all of your love and support. It’s been wonderful!

Here is a link to the website: http://katedabkeyshoes.com. Look for pricing and inventory changes this week!



Detroit to Boston, 84 Boxes At Least May 8, 2013

This weekend was a blur. It started off immediately with me hitting 290 at Friday rush hour. Not a good start. Things cleared up after about an hour, but by that time I was only by U.S. Cellular Field and I was planning on getting to Royal Oak, Michigan by 9:30 my time. Not good. Then I hit a freak thunderstorm on 94 in Indiana. Combined with a heavy rain, thunder, and lightning, a rock hit my windshield. At first I didn’t really notice it. Then something started to crawl across the glass. My first thought was it was just a bug that splattered. To test my theory, I washed the windshield. Unfortunately it wasn’t bug guts; it was a crack in the glass.


Luckily I didn’t have any more mishaps on my way to Michigan. I made it safely and only thirty minutes late. Which was a very good thing since the next day we were up at 7:15…which is 6:15 Chicago time. Why so early? Well it was moving day for Jill. She had packed most of her 84 boxes ahead of time and now it was just a matter of assisting her movers with fitting everything into her pod. Fortunately, everything went very smoothly. We were all done just a little after noon. Not too shabby for a two bedroom apartment! But, it was mostly due to Jill’s incredible organizational skills.

Boxes in the Living Room

Boxes in the Living Room

2nd Bedroom With Boxes

2nd Bedroom All Empty!

2nd Bedroom All Empty!



After the move, we decided to reward ourselves and hit the outlet mall by her mom’s house. (But not before I called my insurance to set up a mobile replacement for my windshield when I got back to Chicago. And let me say, you are in good hands with All-State!) We both found some great deals at the Banana Republic Outlet, Nine West and of course our personal favorite, the Pepperidge Farm Outlet. Gotta stock up on goldfish when you have the chance! After shopping we went back to her parents’ house to have dinner and relax. Shockingly, we all fell asleep on the couch around 10:30. I wonder why!

The next day we took it easy. I was able to do some grading and work while Jill baked cupcakes. In the afternoon a few of Jill’s family members came over to her parents for a going away BBQ. It was the perfect afternoon catching up, eating good food and being outside. It doesn’t hurt that Jill’s mom and step-dad have a beautiful lake house.

But before I knew it, it was time to hit the road again. Fortunately for me, the crack in the windshield only grew about four inches. The ride home was a little less eventful than the ride up. The only exciting part was exiting the freeway for about 15 miles due to a major accident….once again adding another 30 minutes onto my drive home. Oh well. I made it safely and today, my windshield got replaced for free! Thanks insurance!

The only real downside to the weekend was saying good-byeish to Jill. Since college we have seen each other at least once a month. Now, she’s moving to Boston and neither of us can afford monthly visits. But I think we found a compromise with quarterly ones. Leave it to Jill to have a plan! Hopefully next week will be a little calmer. Cross your fingers for me!


Family Hangout Time October 31, 2012

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 3:00 pm
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This past weekend we celebrated my mom’s birthday. The festivities began Friday night when my dad, Matt and I took her to one of her favorite Italian restaurants in LaGrange, Marconi’s. We split a bottle of merlot and enjoyed catching up with one another while enjoying a wonderful meal. My dad got his usual slice of lasagna and both Matt and my mom got the chicken vesuvio. Wanting to try something new, I did a sauteed chicken with a slab of prosciutto with fresh green beans and carrots. For dessert we split a decadent piece of tiramisu that was light and fluffy and melted in your mouth. Matt even went back for another bite – which was epic since he is not a huge dessert guy.

Naturally the festivities had to continue. So on Saturday afternoon my mom came and picked me up so I could take her shopping. (This whole not driving thing really complicates things when you’re supposed to be treating someone else). Our destinations included Oak Brook and Costco. The weather was beautiful. A perfect sunny crisp fall day. There was definitely no other place I would rather be with my mom on her birthday than shopping.

We hit the usual suspects of Crate and Barrel, Gap, Vera Bradley. The Limited, Ann Taylor Loft, and Banana Republic. Armed with our birthday coupons we did very well scooping up deals. My mom scored a free long sleeve top at the Loft and I got a $4 long sleeve top at the Gap. It was fun to pal around with her even though she kept trying to carry all of the shopping bags because of my arm. We had a blast trying on clothes and picking out ridiculous clothing wondering who would ever buy that.

With my parents traveling between Florida and Wisconsin throughout the year, I’ve really come to enjoy the time that I do get to spend with them. Whether it’s shopping with my mom for her birthday or helping my dad out with his computer/organizing the garage to enjoying a meal with them. It’s all good stuff that I look forward to. Mostly because they make laugh but also because they’re still teaching me things in their sly parent ways and I’ll always respect them for that.


An Ode to Black Friday with a Nod to Hamlet November 30, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 9:19 pm
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To go out and brave the mob or not to? That is the question.

Whether its nobler to camp on cold concrete

Or to await the sun on Monday morning

And by opposing end them. To shop, to save –

No more – and by shop to say we bank

The heartache, and the streams of flowing tears

That brings joy or sadness. ‘Tis a completion

Held by the beholder. To shop, to save –

To save—perchance a steal: ay, there’s the rub,

For midnight to four AM what may come

When we have methodically planed our spree.

Must give us haste. There’s no respect

That makes calamity in the parking lot

For who would bear the ball and chain of a cart,

Th’ big box’s wrong, the buyer be warned

The pangs of lost coupons, the receipt delay

The disrespect of clerks and the spurns

Those screeches of repeated store announcements

When she herself might her surrender to all

With only four hours to shop who would dare,

To push and shove under florescent lights,

But that the dread of only Cyber Monday left,

The unknown bargains, only corporate knows

No purchaser redeems, both deals and coupons,

And makes us rather anxious to evil wills

Than complacent in our fortnights to come?

Thus The Man does make cowards of us all,

And thus glamour and glitz of holidays

Is plastered o’er newspaper and homepage

And labors of planning and organizing

With this sole moonlit evening and early morn

And forego what is to do. Soft you now,

The fair Black Friday! –Elves, in thy workshop

Be all my discounts remembered!


Sleepy Summer Vacation Spots August 10, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 5:00 pm
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Last week I took my “normal” week of vacation to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Back in the day, I used to spend the entire summer enjoying the fresh air, swimming, going to the range, and of course shopping. Now as an adult, I’m lucky to have one week to escape to my beloved lake house.

One of my favorite things that my family and I did this year was a day trip to Bayfield, Wisconsin. Located in the northern tip of Wisconsin on Lake Superior, Bayfield is known as the gateway to the Apostle Islands.

We stopped in at a very helpful tourist information building and picked up brochures galore about the ferry ride, local shops, restaurants and boat rentals. Since my mom and I were in the lead, we checked out the cute boutiques first and left my dad to explore the used bookstores. We met up at the Rittenhouse Inn and enjoyed a delightful lunch.

Bayfield looking out from our ferry

After lunch, we made a beeline to hop on the ferry to Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands and the only one with commercial development. We landed at La Pointe, on the island and walked to the history museum. My dad and I are both into history, so it was no surprise we spent about two and half hours exploring the different buildings. My favorite part of the museum was the interactive shipwreck finder that listed all of the recorded wrecks in Lake Superior. My dad, however, may argue that the involvement of local townspeople in the Civil War exhibit was the best part instead.

Mom and Dad outside the History Museum on Madeline Island

Next, we walked around the island in search of ice cream and meandered through a few of the local galleries and shops. Once we had our ice cream we sat on the dock and enjoyed the view of boats sailing off into the sunset. And before we knew it, it was time to board our ferry back to the mainland.

Bayfield and Madeline Island are definitely fun places to visit. Next time I go, I’m totally renting a kayak and exploring some of the caves on Lake Superior and hitting up a few wineries. Alas, I think that might have to wait until next summer but now I have something to look forward to!


The Motor City March 30, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 9:42 pm
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New York was last week’s post and this week’s is about Detroit. Before heading off to Michigan last Friday, I was conversing with a co-worker about our weekend plans. He said, “I’m sorry you’re going to Detroit this weekend.” My response was, “It really isn’t that bad!”

Sometimes I think Detroit has an unnecessarily bad reputation. But that may be that after visiting the area so many times and having a great tour guide, I can see past the negativity.

Here are some of my favorites about Detroit:

The Fist of Detroit - a Monument to Joe Louis

  • Spend a day at the Detroit Zoo and be sure to check out the “Arctic Ring of Life”
  • The battle between University of Michigan and Michigan State University
  • Enjoy the Arabic food…I can taste the chicken shwarma and garlic paste now!
  • The downtown skyline featuring beautiful art deco-buildings
  • You rarely see a Toyota or Honda
  • Listen to Motown music and let it take you back to a golden era in the music industry
  • Go to Miller’s Bar for a burger and you won’t be disappointed
  • The Riverwalk
  • Walk, play in the park, wave to the people in Canada, be amazed by beautiful plants in a conservatory and learn about the shipping history, all at Belle Isle
  • Pottery shops
  • The free concerts at Hart Plaza
  • Sweet vintage and thrift stores filled with treasures
  • Little neighborhoods – like the Mexicantown with its deliciouso bakeries
  • The Riverwalk
  • The opportunity to remember what once was  – Michigan Central Station
  • Ste. Anne de Detroit Catholic Church

So Detroit isn’t exactly like New York. And that’s ok. Detroit has its own story to share. And especially with the recent economic fall-out, it’s an important one to remember.  John Rich sings it best,

“Cause in the real world they’re shutting Detroit down

While the boss man takes his bonus pay and jets out of town

And DC’s bailing out the bankers as the farmers auction ground

Yeah while they’re living it up on Wall Street in that New York City town

Here in the real world there shuttin’ Detroit down.

They’re shuttin’ Detroit down.”

Don’t be too quick to judge and to shut Detroit down.


Three Nifty Ways to be Thrifty February 15, 2011

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 11:05 pm
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When you shop, do you ever feel like it isn’t the item that you’re purchasing that gets you so excited, but instead the thrill of getting a deal?  I recognize I don’t always need everything that I buy, but sometimes it’s such a great deal I can’t pass it up!

Here are some of my latest deals I’m proud of and the tips I learned from them:

Burt’s Bee’s Lip Balm
The 4-pack tin was originally $10, which already is an awesome deal considering one lip balm usually costs around 3 bucks.  But just the other day at Bed, Bath, and Beyond I found that same 4 pack for $4.99!  To top it off I had my trusty 20% coupon (they’ll even accept the expired ones) with me so I actually received the tin for $3.99.  That comes to just 99 cents per lip balm!

~Always keep your coupons with you~

Red Dress
I was at Macy’s (I know long live Marshall Field’s!) and found a red floral dress.  I’m not a huge wearer of red, but I loved the pattern so much I decided to try it on.  It fit like a glove and then I took a look at the price tag: it was originally $60, had been marked down a few times all the way to $15, then everything on sale in the store was an additional 50% off.  After all those great discounts I ended up owing only $7 something with tax!

~Buy items out of season if possible~

While shopping at CostCo with my Nana I came across a bottle of 90 Claritin pills for $35.00.  If you have allergies and need to use this stuff, you would realize what a great buy that is.  That’s only a cost of 39 cents a pill.  As opposed to buying a 20 pack from Walgreens for around $20 bucks…or $1 per pill!  That means I saved 60 cents per pill, which really adds up when you take the stuff almost every day.  Gosh darn mold, dust, trees, and cats (Sorry Harlo, I still love you!)

~Buying in bulk can save you a lot in the long run~

I think most people could use a deal when they go shopping.  And doesn’t it feel better when you saved so much money?  I’d love to hear what sort of tips you all have for scoring good deals too.  Don’t be shy please share the wealth!


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