We interrupt your regularly scheduled updates on boutique shopping and clothes to bring you this stunning, Made in the USA hardwood floor from Wisconsin-based Stang-Lund:

Oh, I’m still shopping, but truth be told, I haven’t one new pair of boots this fall and am in dire need of sweaters because hardwood floors have become my obsession. We’re doing a room for the first time in, well, ever, and while I could pick a dress with one eye closed, I’m finding myself confoundedly indecisive on home design decisions. Started out thinking I wanted dark dark floors, but after numerous warnings about the difficult upkeep (scratches, dust more obvious), plus the issue of trying to add light to the room without adding windows, which I can’t afford, I started gravitating lighter. I fell for (falling on would have been cheaper) a whitewashed oak on the Parade of Homes tour (I go to torture myself). It’s cool, casual and little bit rustic, but the overall impact is entirely contemporary. The key is the white/gray undertone and getting rid of the yellow/orange hues that pervade Home Depot’s flooring department….and the rest of my house. Good taste is a curse: apparently whitewashed pre-finished floors are an emerging trend, currently available only in high end lines. I’ve been told by numerous flooring resources it will likely take a year or two before the finish trickles down to budget brands. Buying unfinished and trying to achieve the look could be even more expensive, I’m told. Where is the H&M of hardwood floors when you need it? I’m a shopper on a mission. My contractor had no idea what he was signing up for.

I didn't have to hope Lowes would have the drapery rod I wanted – I checked the stock at local stores before venturing out. I then bought it online so I could breeze into the store and pick it up at the customer service desk without having to wait in a cashier's line. What a fantastic way to shop, and it's becoming more common. Home Depot's website also lets you check inventory at specific stores and order online for in-store pick-up at no additional charge. JC Penney has added a local inventory check as well. And electronics stores like Best Buy were some of the first to venture into ordering online and picking up at the store. I was raving about the service this week to Deloitte retail analyst Brad Fritz, who assured me that retailers realize this is the efficient way to shop. Take advantage!