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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Our Winter Essentials

Guys, I'm cold.  Like, cold cold. My back hurts because my muscles are clenching my spine like a needy toddler to its mom. Some embrace the cold and take advantage of outdoor sports like skiing, snowboarding, fishing, yard work...whatever, but not I. I is an indoors-man. I is, like I said, cold, but I'm surviving just fine, and my personal bitching would be exponentially higher without a few cold weather essentials that have helped me out dramatically. Turns out my coworkers have a few tricks up their sleeves as well...

Halle said:
  • Patagonia Down Coat with Waterproof Shell- The down coat is super warm and I can add the shell in bad weather for extra warmth and to stay dry.
  • B.ella Legwarmers- These get me to and from yoga without freezing and they're perfect and cozy for wearing around the house on a lazy day.
  • Smartwool Socks and Underwear- These are major winter essentials for me. Soooo comfy!

Stacey said:
  • Blundstone Boots- I wear them everywhere, especially when walking my dogs...they are easy to clean the mud off of.
  • Nanak's Lip Smoothees- It always keeps my lips moist and lasts for hours. My favorite!
  • Heating Pad- I warm up my bed at night before going to sleep and I stay toasty warm.
 Amanda said:
Cat said:
  • 'Bern' by Bos. & Co. boot- They're waterproof, cute, and cozy! I can go anywhere and dress them up just a little if I need to.
  • oneVessel Glass Tumbler- It's great for hot drinks, loose leaf tea, or lattes. It stays hot and doesn't burn my hands.
  • Mox Botanicals Lip Butter in Pomegranate and Fig- It smells great and keeps my lips from chapping in the cold weather.

Jen said:

What are some key items you can't live without during the wintertime?

Oh, and from Village Shoes to you, stay warm!

post by Amanda

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Village Shoes Employee: Amanda

9:00 AM: Fall out of bed. Crawl across room to hit snooze on the alarm.

9:10 AM: Fall out of bed. Crawl across room to hit snooze on the alarm.

9:20 AM: Fall out of bed. Crawl across my room to turn off my alarm.

9:30 AM: HAVE A MELTDOWN! I only have 45 minutes to get ready.


10:16 AM: Begin walk to Evo’s Coffee Lounge. Wonder if they’ll have any cinnamon raisin bagels left…

10:19 AM: Order a 16oz drip. Yes, my bagel is there! Order cinnamon raisin bagel, not toasted, with cream cheese on the side. Order a packet of Emergen-C…because…you know, customer service.

10:25 AM: Enter Village Shoes. Turn on heat. Turn on music. BLAST IT.

10:25-10:29 AM: DANCE PARTY.

10:30-10:59 AM: Prep store for opening. Turn on the computer. Open POS (which happens to be a real POS at times). Turn on lights. Tidy shoe displays. 

11:00 AM: Allow the masses to pour in by unlocking the door. 

11:00 AM-1:00 PM: Work! Work! Work!* 

1:01-1:15 PM: Look over menus we’ve collected from local restaurants, trying to figure out what to have for lunch. Of course! SMITHFIELDS!

1:16-1:45 PM: Pick up my INSANELY DELICIOUS lunch from Smiffys. Eat it.  

1:46-1:59 PM: Slip in and out of food coma. Hope customers aren’t too demanding and that they aren’t in a hurry because I'm moving at the speed of smell.

2:00:4:45 PM: Work!*

4:46-5:00 PM: Things are startin’ to slow down. Back up the computer. Vacuum. Closing begins.


*Work truly varies from day to day. Of course my primary role is to help customers with shoes, but when I’m not doing that, there’s TONS of other stuff to do. Since I’m in charge of Village Shoes’ social media accounts, I typically will play around on search the internet for fun images to post on our Facebook page. I send out a weekly email to our customers that have subscribed to our SOLE MATES email list, which entails coming up with creative copy to excite customers about new inventory and promotions. On top of sending out a weekly email, I also post weekly on our blog. The blog is a lot of fun because I am able to write/post about anything I want! I’ve written about mac and cheese, annoyances about people coming into the shop asking if they can “hike” in some of our shoes, gift ideas…the list goes on and on. Although maintaining the Village Shoes blog is a great task to have, it can also be a huge pain in the a**. I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it is to come up with ideas week after week and maintain enthusiasm. When I’m not working on an email campaign, blog post, our Facebook or Twitter, or helping customers, you can find me cleaning. There’s always something to clean. ALWAYS. I’m not particularly ecstatic about cleaning, like most people, but whatever…it needs to get done, so it gets done. There are times that working at Village Shoes feels very much like work, but most of the time it’s quite fun. We honestly have some fantastic customers, and my coworkers have alright great personalities, so the time spent at VS is normally quite pleasant. 

Oh, and how stinkin' cute am I in that photo? I danced to Love Me Tender by Elvis with my tutu that was then replaced by a fringe skirt that was worn to perform to Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lewis. Little Amanda looked super sweet, but she was just as much as a b***h as she is today.

post by Amanda


Thursday, January 17, 2013

What We Are Reading

Now that the holidays are over, I think we have all found ourselves with some extra time to kill.  The weather is cold. The fire is roaring. The hot chocolate is a-flowin'! What's better than grabbing your warmest blanket, your newest book, a hot guy to give you a foot massage, and letting yourself get lost in a story? Fine, fine, I guess having the hot guy feed you pizza would make it better.

Anyways, here's what the Village Shoes girls are currently working on...

  • Earplugs by Bram Riddlebarger In this charming novel, a quest for earplugs tries to stave off old age, unrequited love, and the burden of change. But like dark ships appearing on the horizon of small-town ear canals, bobbing masts signal beginnings and ends. A town overtaken by a new order. Antique dealers selling off the living room. Relationships that ignite and do not last. Eau de Auld versus Odeur Nouveau, in brief. 
  • Solar Lottery by Philip K. Dick “Philip K. Dick’s best books always describe a future that is both entirely recognizable and utterly unimaginable.” -The New York Times Book Review
  • Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer "[A]n extraordinary journey that activates the layers of time and space involved in the handling of a book and its heap of words. Jonathan Safran Foer deftly deploys sculptural means to craft a truly compelling story. In our world of screens, he welds narrative, materiality, and our reading experience into a book that remembers it actually has a body." - Olafur Eliasson, artist
  • Linguistics for Everyone by Kristin Denham & Anne Lobeck This book is for students with majors in English, linguistics, secondary education, foreign languages, communication sciences, and other disciplines that need a basic introduction to linguistics.
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss Harry Potter fans craving a new mind-blowing series should look no further than The Name of the Wind--the first book in a trilogy about an orphan boy who becomes a legend. Full of music, magic, love, and loss, Patrick Rothfuss's vivid and engaging debut fantasy knocked our socks off. --Daphne Durham
  • Un Lun Dun by China Mieville When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.
  • The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Kluger In this perceptive and groundbreaking book, Jeffrey Kluger explores the complex world of siblings in equal parts science, psychology, sociology, and memoir. Based on cutting-edge research, he examines birth order, twins, genetic encoding of behavioral traits, emotional disorders and their effects on sibling relationships, and much more. With his signature insight and humor, Kluger takes science’s provocative new ideas about the subject and transforms them into smart, accessible insights that will help everyone understand the importance of siblings in our lives.
  • Earplugs by Bram Riddlebarger
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey "Absolutely delicious!" (A Guy Who Eats Books)
  • Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani
  • The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan's song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible ...
  • Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr Crazy Sexy Kitchen gives readers all the tools and know-how needed to adopt a joyful and vibrant Crazy Sexy Diet and Lifestyle. What is the Crazy Sexy Diet and Lifestyle, you ask? A nutrient-dense, plant-happy approach to eating and living that harmonizes your beautiful body at the cellular level. It’s a celebratory way of life that’s deeply connected, healthy, awake and engaged. Now that’s SEXY!

So, I'm sure you've noticed that three of us are reading Earplugs by Bram Riddlebarger.  Bram is Halle's older brother, and she was kind enough to buy us copies of his book for Christmas! We are all very proud of him. His book can be purchased on Amazon, or you can ask your local bookstore to stock his book...actually, pester your local bookstore into stocking his book.

What are you reading or hope to read soon? If you're the person who has to read for work, class, etc., what kind of books do you pick up when you have time to read for pleasure?

post by Amanda
first photo courtesy of The Beauty of Words Blog

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


On Halloween this year, my friends and I decided to have a laid back night in. We planned on posting up at Paul and Amara's house to pass out candy to the kids, and Marcella would to bring over dinner for us all. I always enjoy a home cooked meal, but I didn't expect to be obsessed with what she brought for us to eat. She "whipped up" pulled pork sandwiches with an apple coleslaw, and a whiskey fig spread. Oh. My. GAWD. I mean, it was so good, it should be illegal. I'm not joking. This isn't funny. I'm being very serious. You NEED these recipes.

Marcella Rose's Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Crisp Apple Coleslaw and Whiskey Fig Spread

 Dry Rub

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 3 lb pork roast, shoulder or butt

In Ashland, we have been recently blessed with one damn fine butcher; Boulton & Son.  This shop is not only stunningly set up with so many delicious items and ultra-local products, but the help is second to none.  The boys behind that counter can’t wait to share their knowledge and know-how, and they'll even let you have a taste or two.  Seriously, if you need meat, this is your place.  For those not in Ashland, take the time to seek out your local butcher; you won’t regret it!


Place all items for the run together and mix.  Feel free to add and delete or change items to suit your personal tastes! Take ingredients and get in a get a little friendly with your pork, give it a nice rub down.  For added flavor you can put the pork in the fridge to let it get acquainted with the rub overnight.   If you don’t have time, don’t stress,  place the pork in a roasting pan and throw it in the oven at 300 degrees F for 6 hours.  For an 8 or 9-hour time turn the oven to 250.

Fig Whiskey Spread

Dice one onion and place around pork along with about 20 figs to bake with the pork.  When the pork is done take all the figs and onion and place in a blender along with all the juices from the pork and puree.  Add whiskey (or beef stock) as needed until the ingredients create a thick spread.


Apple Cider Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses 
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Let all ingredients simmer together for 10 minutes or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the pork is done remove from oven and let cool until you can handle it, then with two forks begin shredding and add to sauce.

Crisp Apple Coleslaw
  • One head of cabbage shredded
  • 2 apples cut into match sticks- see photo
  • The juice on one lemon or lime
  • Two tablespoons honey or sugar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix all together and serve along side the pork with buns and spread! Delish!!


Sounds incredible, right? I'm quite the pulled pork enthusiast, and typically order it if I find it on a menu, and hers is by far the best I've ever had. The spread, the apple slaw, and her pulled pork recipes combined make for a perfect storm of a comfort food experience.

Oh, here's a picture Marcella took of me after I had my first bite:

post by Amanda
recipe and pictures by Marcella Rose

Monday, January 07, 2013

Under a Deep Blanket of Snow

Happy New Year!
photos by Stacey Larnerd