Living in a small mountain community makes it difficult to shop the market. The nearest shopping areas are 50-80 miles away. Such a trip is very difficult, takes a whole day, and is usually a waste of time. My region of the country has very few boutique shops that would sell my product. I like the mountain west and wouldn't move to be closer to hipper and swankier shops. If I happen to be in a bigger city, then I do take the time. DH gladly would rather sit on his bum in front of the laptop than traipse after me in a frou-frou store anyway.
Thank goodness we have the internet! I can browse what other people are doing with out much more than a click of my mouse. There are a lot of great online stores/blogs/independent designers doing some interesting things. If I see something I like, I snatch a copy of it and save it in my google notebook (look for the link for the notebook and check out other great google products). This is my new favorite tool and it is there for me no matter where I am logged into the net. The cool thing is it saves the linking info so I always know where something came from.
Gone are the days of buying expensive glossy magazines and ripping out the pictures. I still do this once in a while, but not nearly as often. Google notebook is my new favorite tool.