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Archive for the tag “shopping”

No New Clothes Challenge

There are reminders all over my house that I have a huge shopping addiction.

The “good” shopping bags, with sturdy handles, that I refuse to thow away.

The clothes hanging in the closet with tags still on them.

And the overflowing laundry baskets and “handwash” or “to the cleaners” piles are nothing more than monuments to my addiction.

So as a summer filled with traveling (the Bahamas next week, Caribana in Toronto and a family reunion in North Carolina in July), and some good concerts (D’Angelo anyone?) is rapidly, and I do mean rapidly approaching, it makes a girl like me get downright pavlovian when it’s time to decide I need a new outfit worthy of each individual event I attend. Let’s not even forget a wedding in September!!! The clothes, the shoes!!!!

I’ll admit a new clothing item makes me feel good. It’s like celebrating a moment. And why wouldn’t a person want to celebrate going on vacation? Who wouldn’t want to strut through the airport looking and feeling like their favorite celebrities and then being able to take great photos in said outfits to remind you of what a great time you had and how great you looked and felt?

But I’ve come to a serious revelation that my friends have been telling me for years.

I have a lot of clothes.

So I’ve been trying (emphasis on the word trying) to purge more regularly to get rid of older items I don’t wear anymore to continue to make room for the new items I’ve been bringing in. For any local friends, I’ve collected old handbags to give away!!!

As I’ve been starting to think about what I’m going to bring on my vacation next week, it occurred to me, I didn’t need to shop for anything. I already had plenty of items to overpack in my suitcase.

Breezy sundresses?

Check.

Fabulous dramatic sun hats?

Check.

Proper hand bags ranging from beach totes, to crossbodies, to backpacks for day excursions and clutches for partying at night.

Yup, yup, yup.

Sandals, sneakers, pumps and flats that will get me to my gate comfortably if I have to hustle?

Got it.

Swimsuits that I don’t mind strutting my stuff in? Oh yes. I have swimsuits for each day I’m there.

So after taking inventory, and trying on and selecting clothes that I felt my very best in, I realized, I really didn’t have any pre-vacation shopping to do. That the only thing I really needed was an awesome, sturdy, strapless bra.

In my room standing over piles of clothes I gave myself a challenge. Don’t buy any new clothes for this trip. Wear what you already have. Go to the bottom of your laundry piles and wash clothes you completely forgot about. You have no legitimate excuse to shop for anymore clothes. The perfect outfit for any vacation scenario you can think of is already in your closet.

Rather than going to pinterest to gain ideas of what to buy for your trip, go there to compare what you like to what you’ve already got and work the hell out of it.

After all, you bought it because you liked it, didn’t you?

Besides, the money I’ll save from not buying new clothes can be used towards having an unforgettable experience while I’m on vacation. And you can’t hang that in a closet!

Do you buy new clothes every time you travel?

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30 and Still Spoiled

Ok, ok.

All my life I’ve been well-loved by my family and friends.
When you are younger you take it for granted. You expect it. When you are the youngest cousin and everyone including your sister is at least 10 years older than you, these folks are going to surround you, protect you and look after you, well forever.

This weekend one of my favorite older cousins came to town. She’s basically my second sister. She’s always looked after me, talked to me about sex, boys, men, fashion, being classy and the importance of a good bra.

We had a fantastic time. Went to a football game, went shopping, ate at a bunch of great places (lots of eating); it was just wonderful. Even when I got a flat tire, she calmed me down and because this was a tough week for me financially, she paid for my new tire.

I love my family.

Strange things were happening the entire trip. I ran into a man who looked just like my ex, she purchased a pair of shoes only to find later they were both right feet and we had to kind of drive out-of-the-way to go back to the store to return them, an old man even asked us for hugs outside of a restaurant, before his wife came out to the parking lot.

We had a good laugh at it all.

Even though I didn’t have much money this week, (hey it’s hard out here, can we say rent?) I tried to treat her when I could and she did A LOT of treating for me. Even at a buy one get one half off shoe sale, I became a happy owner of a new pair of fabulous heels from her shopping trip too!!!! LOVE MY COUSIN.

She mentioned how she admired my independence and how hard I’ve been working and how she had just been enjoying herself. I really, really appreciated the fact that she was so generous and still saw me as her little cousin that she wanted to spoil.

I won’t front, as independent as I am, I love it when my family members refuse to take my money, or when they pick up a tab. But I believe that I usually pay it forward, and when I have some extra money, I love sharing with them or giving them a gift to let them know how much I appreciate them.

It was so nice to kick back and spend time with one of my favorite people for a few days. We laughed and just went wherever the wind took us.  And the wind took us all over the place! I showed her some of my favorite places and we even found new ones. Including the AFI theater, where we saw the amazing “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” a Sundance darling sure to win truckloads of awards in the coming year.

It was worth all of the buzz and hype because it was a beautiful, emotional story, with a lot of heart, and the kind of courage I don’t know if I would have under the circumstances.

I don’t have anything groundbreaking to share, I’m still in recovery mode from hosting, but please go see the film. I may try to do my own little review another time.

Top Tips for a Successful Shecky’s Girl’s Night Out

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ScottChan/Freedigitalphotos.net

What happens when you tell hundreds of women to show up to a large venue, grab a large goodie bag filled with beauty products and samples, offer them free liquor all night and access to vendors selling jewelry, beauty products, clothes, bags and beauty services?

It’s a mixture of madness, ecstasy, poor financial decision making, peer pressure, and euphoric delight.

It’s that time of year once again ladies. Shecky’s Girl’s Night Out is upon the fine, well-dressed lady citizens of the D.C. Metro area. Tonight is the first night of two.

A dear friend will be joining me tonight as we enjoy the free swag and liquor and see what we can see.

I’m excited. I went about two or three years ago and while somethings were a little too pricey for me, there were still reasonable options and thanks to the famous goodie bag, whether you buy anything or not, you still won’t leave empty handed.

The concept is genius really. Go to major cities, get great sponsorship from companies who want to reach women, have them agree to give out free stuff and give small business owners a chance to sell their wares and give them exposure to women, who right after work want to hang out, get drunk and spend money on pretty things. The only thing missing that would make this event perfect is access to food and male strippers or at least half naked men serving the drinks.

I think the no food thing is a psychological trick to get us even more drunk to buy more stuff. It’s from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The funniest thing of all is, since with the exception of gay buddies, there are no men, but the women in attendance still dress to the nines. I guess it goes with the theme of being fashionable women and no one wants to disappoint. Today’s outfit is fantastic. Cobalt blue pants I recently scored at Target, an animal print blouse and since it is ridiculously warm for early March, a simple light, long black jacket and my awesome shoes that I made reference to purchasing in a previous post.

I don’t plan on going nuts, but I do have a few key things in mind in terms of not going nuts spending money.

I wouldn’t mind getting some really great smelling soap or candles.

I am on the hunt for a great, yet inexpensive statement necklace. The last time I went, it was my friend’s birthday and the vendor not only gave her a discount, but threw in a ring for free.

I love a great, creative tee shirt that I know I won’t see anywhere else.

Handbags are awesome, but they need to be damn near giving them away. The last time I went, I was able to get a great discount toward the end of the night. The vendors are tired and want to make a sale.

So here are my tips to have great and successful shopping experience at Sheckys.

Be polite and strike up conversation with the vendors. They want to sell to you and if you aren’t a jerk, they like to give you discounts. Some people look at stuff, throw it around, don’t speak, don’t ask questions or even say loudly how it’s too expensive or not cute enough to be that expensive. Each table is like visiting someone’s home. These folks have gone to great expense to sell these items, or make these creations. Show some respect, it goes a long way. 

Don’t buy the first things you see. Keep walking around, you don’t want to burn your budget and then get mad you can’t buy something you really wanted that you saw later on in the evening.

You can haggle.

Wear proper undergarments. They have some makeshift dressing rooms (and with all the drunk women someone may bust in on you), but you also want whatever you try on to have optimal fit.

Wear comfortable shoes. There’s lots of walking around and people standing and congregating. I’m wearing wedges, but I’ve also got those fold up shoes.

Eat a good, heavy lunch. You don’t want to get there and be grumpy, and you don’t want to drink on an empty stomach.

Breaking Shoe Obsession News

I interrupt my regular life post, to bring you breaking shoe news.

I promise, I will not do this often. I like the groove we’ve established. I will not squander what we’ve built together for random shoe whims.

However, I have a thing for shoes.

I’ve probably mentioned this a number of times throughout this blog in passing, or in quick references.

Shoes are awesome, shoes are hot. Some make me feel comfortable, some make me feel like I can take on the world. Some say, “I mean business,” while others say, “Clothes? Who needs em? You just need us and a big ol smile, now get over here big boy.”

So, thanks to my latest online obsession Pinterest, other shoe fanatics can post gorgeous shoes that we can fantasize and dream about out in the open, without judgement. In fact, gushing is encouraged.

Well, these Maison Martin Margiela Line 22
Heel-In-Heel pumps took the cake, the cookies, and the ice cream. And I can be the proud owner for $790 (not including tax).

I love nude colored shoes (I don’t have enough of them), I adore wedges (got plenty– my faves are my snake-skin Coach wedges) and the fact that it’s doing this cut-out thin heel illusion thing, is just darling. These are certainly a talker.

But I would not interrupt a blog that usually discusses my journey into 30 off of some nonsense about expensive shoes I can’t afford and won’t buy.

I will interrupt this blog that usually discusses my journey into 30 to share with you that I’ve found an affordable solution (that may or may not have been inspired by this very shoe) on sale, and with a 15% off entire purchase coupon!!!

I present to you the Lana by Report shoes courtesy of Famous Footwear.

Que the angel choir singing led by Ms. Whitney Houston herself. (Was that cute or was that shameless? Too soon? Help me, I certainly don’t want to offend. Yall know I love me some Nippy. The Whitney movie marathon is scheduled for Saturday (Bodyguard, The Preacher’s Wife, Waiting to Exhale). I’m accepting side dishes and desserts. I’ve got the liquor and I’m frying fish.)

famousfootwear.com

I actually saw these shoes for the first time around Thanksgiving (long before seeing the uber-expensive dream shoes). The reduced price was down to about $80, but was still too rich for my blood, considering I was in Famous Footwear. Patience, my child. So I watched and I waited. The price continued to drop after Christmas, but I still kept waiting. “It will go down.”

The dream shoes re-sparked my interest, and I went back to the Famous Footwear site to see if the price dropped some more. They did. Now, these babies are $39.99 and I can add my 15% off coupon.

I am beyond happy. So much so, I’ll be rocking these at a happy hour, date, girl’s night out and cubicle near me… (You will pick me out of the bathroom stall lineup, oh well.)

Thank you for indulging me in my shoe indulgence today.

Ode to Ikea

Ikea was pulling me in before I ever realized they were doing it and doing it oh so well.

I was probably in middle school when they sent large catalogues to my house. There was something about this store with the short funny name.

Was it pronounced eye-kee-ya? Ick-e-a?

Page after page, I’d see beautiful, organized homes, with happy people relaxing and entertaining. My parent’s home was cozy enough, but man what would it be like to live in places like that?

Unfortunately, when I’d flip to the back cover of the book–my head filled with dreams of what my house would look like as an adult, so chic and modern (which makes perfect sense for the successful magazine editor I wanted to be)– my dreams were crushed. The closest store was in some random place in New Jersey. My parents weren’t even thinking about new furniture, let alone Swedish furniture that none of us could pronounce. The other U.S. locations in the 90s were no where near as plentiful back then as they are now.

It wouldn’t be until I went to college, I’d make the trek to the magical place with the unmistakable blue and yellow logo I dreamed about as a preteen.

The building was massive. As I walked through the showroom it was like the catalogue I flipped through as a young girl came to life. I sat in the chairs, hugged the patterned pillows, sprawled out on the mattresses. I looked up close at the photos on the wall, books on the shelves and clothes and shoes in the perfectly organized closets that made it all seem realistic, but not intrusive to the imaginary family living in those rooms.  Even as an “adult” and a story-teller by nature, I made up stories in my head about the people who lived in the rooms.

A lovely bookcase I built. From...Ikea!!

When I was learning about starting a business we talked about psychology and shopping. How a brand makes you feel, how they present themselves and offer their services.

Ikea is an amazing case study on this particularly here in the U.S.

We want stuff that looks good.

We love stuff that’s cheap and makes us feel like we got a deal.

They know we have a lot of shit we don’t need and won’t get rid of and being able to hide it effectively in our homes and in an organized manner not only appeals to us, it titillates us.

We are quite obsessed with home improvement and competing with others and feeling like we have lovely homes.

We get hungry when we shop.

One of the most genius things Ikea did was offer food. As a broke college student and a broke adult writer, I’ll be the first to say, there were times I went in there not even thinking about furniture, dishes or home accents.

I wanted the $.50 hot dogs and $.75 soft serve ice cream cones.

When they expanded the cafeteria (you can get a pretty darn good meal for $6 using real plates and utensils) it set something off in people. It was another victory for the brand (and for guys taking girls out on dates…”yeah girl lets pretend we are furnishing our future home..let me feed you another meatball girl! You deserve it, boo. Hell, let’s get some ice cream too!”)

Families could sit down for civilized meals while they shopped in a clean, well-organized environment. No cardboard boxes or paper cups.

A bookcase I converted into a TV/entertainment center! Ikea!!

I know I may sound like an obsessed Ikea stan right now, but think about it. Those Swedes get what we as Americans wish we could be and wish we had the time to be.

We are loud and messy and unorganized.

We eat terribly. We are addicted to the quick gratification that comes from a $.75 ice cream cone or a $39 bookcase that actually looks pretty nice.  We can gussy up our bathrooms with some new vases, we can finally frame those photos we’d been meaning to get to and display them on our walls, giving our living spaces a much-needed, yet simple and inexpensive transformation.

Most of us can’t afford interior designers, and after hours and hours of HGTV marathons, we feel empowered to give it a try ourselves.

Ikea gives us the go ahead.

Ikea makes us feel good. It makes us feel like although we did something seemingly small, like buying a rug or a new set of dishes, it’s a pleasant change significant to our everyday lives.

We go to this store in hopes that if we buy these nice hangers (NO MORE WIRE  HANGERS!), our closets will be more organized. If we buy the bookshelf, we’ll stop letting all those classics from college collect dust in the basement in a large plastic bin, and we’ll also show our friends we are smart and sophisticated when they stop by.

If we are more organized, we can be better people; our minds will be clear to finally do all of those things we swore we’d do. We can look like those happy people in the catalogues hosting parties sipping out of cute wine glasses, serving perfect finger foods on lovely cheap platters that our friends will gush over and ask us where we got this great stuff from. And proudly, as if we have given away a secret only known to ourselves, we’ll smile, and say, “Ikea, and you won’t believe what I paid.”

The reality is they will believe it, because they have the same “Karby” rug in their house too.

It’s all quite calculated. The flow of the showroom, walking from area to area, and then like being let loose in the gift shop at the end of a museum tour “the marketplace” of Ikea awaits you at the end. It’s climatic.

You reward yourself with a snack for $2.00, and you go home excited to add your new embellishments to your home. Good bye to that old, worn-out ratty bathroom rug!

Here’s to the dream. I’ve got to go. I have a “Bild” and a “Ribba” to hang in my bedroom!   

Gonna frame and hang this tonight!!!

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