Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

So, me and every other blogger is doing their picks of the Anniversary Sale. What do you need to get in on the action now? A Norstrom credit card! If you don’t have one, it’s easy peasy to apply online, then make sure your online account is set up and you can shop online or in store before the sale is “open” to the public on 20 July!

For me, I started with the Kiehl’s gift set – a great value – and 3 full-sized products. It was hard to decide between the two sets TBH! I chose the “ultra healthy skin favourites” set for $69 but I also really liked the moisturiser that came with the “super age correction” set at $89. Tough choices!

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The Kiehl’s Ultra Strength Hand Salve is only $10 (normally $15) – which in Las Vegas or anywhere super dry – you need!

And everything else from my picks from the sale (except the Saint Laurent sneakers and Frye flats!) are below. Not all Nordstrom stores have everything in stock, so if your local store doesn’t have it, they can order it for you, or order online. My suggestion is to make friends with someone in cosmetics and shoes to really get the inside scoop!

  • Voluspa Candle set $26.50 – after sale $40
  • Frye “Carson” Flats $157.95 (4 colours – not part of Anniversary Sale)
  • Gorjana Power Stone Semiprecious Bracelet $31.90 (6 colours) – after sale $48
  • Halogen Leather Moto Jacket $229.90 (2 colours) – after sale $349
  • Saint Laurent Classic Court Sneaker $595 (not part of Anniversary Sale)
  • Kate Spade Drop Earrings $31.90 (7 colours) – after sale $48
  • BP Stripe Faux Leather Clutch $22.90 – after sale $35
  • Barefoot Dreams Circle Cardigan $76.90 (4 colours) – after sale $116
  • Josef Seibel “Caspian” Sneaker $84.90 (5 colours) and I love the idea of the red sneaker – after sale $129.95
  • Paul Green “Logan” Bootie $239.90 (3 colours) – after sale $360
  • Nordstrom Signature Stretch Leather Biker Pants $649.90 – after sale $999

The only other thing I totally recommend is the Nordstrom Lingerie Wash $10.90 (after sale $18) – it is the best for washing all sorts of delicate clothing items!

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And honestly, this is the first time I’ve really had a hard time getting excited about this sale… it’s de-motivating to shop for autumn/winter clothes when it’s 115F/43c outside and the weather shows no signs of cooling off at any point in the near future. Nonetheless, shop away!

Sunshine

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Well, the burning (no pun) question is whether summer has officially come and gone in the UK?!?! A week of temperatures (and matching humidity) over 30c and the country was good and baked.

This summer, I’m in Las Vegas (hello, overdose on vitamin D). In all the years of going to Las Vegas, I’ve never ever never visited in the summer. I don’t like extreme heat, and I certainly don’t like sustained temperatures of 35c+ (100F+) for days on end. The first week I was here, it was ok and I thought I’d survive. Within a week, triple digits! 40c+ and I was dying. (How deceptive does that header photo look, temperature wise?)

I don’t care about it being a “dry heat” – it’s HOT. I’m taking one of the dogs out for walks at 6-630am and that’s the only walk we get for the day because it’s not safe to be out. No evening walks because even at 930-10pm the temperatures are still in the low 100s (upper 30s). Thankfully, there’s a smart thermostat in the house and surprisingly, it’s set at a very, very conservative 80-82F.

The other problem with Las Vegas? Ignoring the fact that my life is not a huge pool party with a cabana or dance club adventure that lasts until 3am every night, I come in two colours – white and red. I burn very easily. First purchases, 2 straw hats from Nordstrom. I saved a tonne purchasing them during the half-yearly sale, and hopefully, they’ll be more stylish whilst still shading me (the cotton baseball hat I’d normally wear was making my head sweat too much).

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Next purchase – sunscreen. What kind? I generally buy SPF30 or SPF50. I love Australian Gold simply because of the smell – and reminds me of my first visit to Las Vegas years ago and I stayed at Treasure Island (TI). I purchased the one with the built in bronzer (I need all the help I can get). (Hawaiian Tropic is another that smells great and the oil that all the cool girls used – think it was probably SPF -2 back in the day!)

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At Target, I grabbed a bottle of Pacifica SPF50. Pacifica is an all-natural brand, and this has no sulphates, no phthalates, no parabens, etc. and is mineral based, leaping bunny product. It comes out of the can white, so you do have to rub it in a bit. The smell is supposedly coconut, but I think it smells like white birthday cake.

And last, at Trader Joe’s I picked up their own brand of SPF50. Super affordable $5.99 price too! It doesn’t really have a scent at all, and what I like about it – it sprays clear! So, when walking Flash in the morning, I’ll spray some on my hands, then wipe down his ears and the bridge of his nose. White dogs can sunburn too!

You can’t have too much sunscreen right? I’ve probably had three really bad burns in my life (typical) and growing up, you didn’t really cover yourself in sunscreen like you do today. It was almost a badge of honour to have that super red, peeling, lobster skin, right? Bad field day in 8th grade and my shoulders were toasted beyond belief; summer on a boat rental in Lake of the Ozarks and my face was cracked, oiled, and horrid like a basted Thanksgiving turkey; and college graduation lunch – Annapolis, Maryland – eating crabs at Cantler’s on the water with no hat. My head got so sunburnt it hurt to wash and brush my hair for a few weeks.

Regardless of where you’re spending your summer, whether locally or abroad, buy a hat and wear sunscreen. You’ll thank yourself years from now.

Balenciaga

Are you thinking of this?

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 07.59.08Or are you thinking of those timeless, iconic dresses and accessories when women “dressed?” Actually, properly, perfectly dressed.

If you want to see actual, proper dressing, head down to the V&A now until next February 2018 and see Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion. All the details are on the V&A website.

The outfits are hard to capture through the glass, but you get the idea. Members’ week at the museum and this was the preview night before it opens to the public this weekend.

English Heritage Day Trip

Back in the autumn, I waxed lyrical about my English Heritage membership and all the historic sites across the country you can visit… Well, in the newsletter they email out, I learned Wrest Park (Bedfordshire) was hosting the largest St. George’s Day festival in the country! For a nominal fee (on top of the membership fee), we could go and enjoy all sorts of activities over the weekend! Even better – if tickets were pre-purchased online, you could save an additional 10% – excellent.

So, what did we do? There were a tonne of “living history” re-enactments – everything from Vikings and Romans who lived in England long ago, to Medieval/Renaissance knights and folk, Crusaders, and 18th-century lords and ladies! Plenty of food choices (though an equal amount of people brought picnics as the weather turned nice), activities for kids of all ages, falconry demonstrations, the ability to enjoy the amazing grounds and gardens, and the house was open as well!

My dad really enjoyed it – he’s still talking about it! For Americans, since there’s no “national holiday” like we’re used to with 4th of July celebrations, this was a fun substitute. I even got a little St. George’s Cross flag for that patriotic vibe!

Overhearing a worker when I was having lunch, I learned Wrest Park was expecting 9,000 – 10,000 visitors over the 2-day event! Easily comparable to many of the Civil War or Revolutionary War re-enactment events you’ll find on the east coast of the US.

There are over 300 English Heritage sites to visit across the country – a membership can easily pay for itself in about 4-6 visits.

Artist (not really)

So, remember how I went to Emma Bridgewater a few weeks ago with my mom and did the design your own mug? Well, 2 weeks later, guess what arrived at my door?

I’m not quitting my day job anytime soon 🙂 Nonetheless, I think my dad is secretly jealous he didn’t get a mug of his own.

Would we take the drive up to Stoke-on-Trent again and do another day at Emma Bridgewater? Absolutely!

End of an Era

So, news broke yesterday that Jenna Lyons, CEO of J.Crew would be stepping down after 26 years at the company. In the US, J.Crew was always the hipper, cooler version of L.L. Bean or Lands’ End in the early 90s, and originally, it was catalogue only shopping with the order form attached at the centre. There were no stores. None. And I can remember waiting anxiously every time that new catalogue came out. My first purchases with my first credit card? A colour-block pique polo shirt and a pair of what would now be considered “high-waist” denim shorts. Also a navy blue polka dot (cotton) bikini. Love xx (and what does it say that I still remember that 20-something years later?)

At the time I didn’t even know who Jenna Lyons was – but she put the adorable critter embroidered clothing everywhere (I have turtle critter chinos I break out in the summer – still).. and the combo of sequins in the daytime! SEQUINS. With camo and stripes. Yes! And shoes that were sparkly and didn’t even seemingly go with the rest of your outfit.

Arguably, many have had it right over the last 5+ years or so – massive company debt, over-priced items, and sinking quality. I have cashmere from 10 years ago and TBH, it’s better quality than what’s in stores today. Basics that were staples of any closet disappeared in lieu of trendy items that were ridiculously priced. Remember when the Cece ballet flat came back? It wasn’t nearly as good as the original.

And what happened to classics like the basic rollneck sweater/jumper that came in 100% cotton, cashmere, or a cotton/cashmere blend? Gone. Scoop back swimsuit? Gone, though it did come back briefly last year. Café capri pants/trousers? Round toe Chelsea boots with the basic 1″ heel? Schoolboy blazer? (Ok, fine, it was replaced with the Rhodes blazer, but still…) Biennial satchel/hobo bags? Flannel-lined chinos? Cotton blend swimsuits? Etta block heels? And the basic barn jacket with the corduroy collar?

Accessories also made J.Crew a staple across the country. The bubble necklace that everyone had in seemingly every colour imaginable – and copied endlessly by the likes of Bauble Bar and others? Chunky pearls and sparkly statement necklaces during the day? Absolutely! Don’t forget the beaded rose necklace too, or the pretty much any necklace that would seem more appropriate during the evening. But hell, New Balance became cool again and everyone had #shinyponies.

Maybe we should’ve known the end was nigh, as even the wedding collection disappeared last year and one of the ruffled, flamenco-inspired skirts shown for SS17 last autumn had an asking price of $900? Regardless, I’ll miss Jenna and no longer be afraid of sequins during the day and be ok knowing camo, like leopard, is a neutral. I’ll still be a J.Crew girl.

Forever Hounds (GRWE) Charity Event

With the greyhounds, various groups around the country are always in need of funds to bring dogs into care, get them properly vetted, pay for kennel fees if the group doesn’t have their own kennels, transport dogs to foster homes, and pay for emergency medical costs.

Forever Hounds Trust (formally Greyhound Rescue West of England – GRWE) is holding a fundraiser in London in a few short weeks to help greyhounds and lurchers at their various locations. Most recently, the group came to the aid of over 50 greyhounds in a rather serious welfare case, which you can read about on their website. Due to cases such as this, and the regular dogs brought into their care, raising funds to ensure they have the best help available is paramount.

Fancy a shop at designer L.K. Bennett whilst helping super cute, adorable greyhounds (and lurchers)?

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PLEASE RSVP so they know how many people to expect! Text WOOF05[space]£10 to 70070 and enjoy!