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!

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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!

 

 

Gym Resolutions

Blah. New Year resolution to work out more? Nope. Lose x amount of weight? Sorta. Best way to achieve this laudable goal? New gym gear (or kit as they’d say here in the UK)! Spending a small fortune on a gym membership, package of classes, and of course clothing, is the easiest way to achieve this, right?

Well, for me it’s all well and good except I MUST put down the remote and remove myself from the Netflix, Prime, Hulu, and iPlayer for that to occur. (*laughs uncontrollably*) Since it’s supposed to snow/flurry/freeze this weekend, what better way to celebrate such a resolution than to order a bunch of workout stuff!

Affordable? The American staple of every workout gym girl and pseudo-yoga girl is Lululemon. Personally, I think it is overrated and overpriced for most items. Cultish for sure, so it ticks that box – now just go grab your Starbucks and oversized sunglasses and you should be set! Same with Sweaty Betty in the UK but I shouldn’t poke fun at either company. Both make really nice workout/gym gear for the yoga, pilates, spinning class set except it’s super pricey. Like $100/£100 for a top or pants/trousers.Too much for the majority of us who won’t make it to the gym past February. Lululemon even worked hard to resolve the rampant problem they had with “see through” pants and other quality issues about three years ago. So do we need expensive gear to leisurely walk around the park with the dog or go to the coffee shop?

Nope! As a devotee of how I can get the best value – I found Aldi and Lidl both had a great selection of gym gear at affordable prices. I made several purchases from Aldi online last week (saving me from getting up at the crack of whenever to drive to my local store when they open at 8am). A selection from Aldi:

Now, some of the items I ordered have since sold out online so it may be wise to check your local store and see if anything is left in stock. I was able to get a Zumba DVD and a fitness peanut/ball too! Everything came to less than £50 and the packaging from Aldi was perfect.

The options from Lidl were equally as good. I simply chose Aldi because I wanted to try their online order process and at this time, Lidl doesn’t offer online shopping for their weekly special buys. Once the week has passed too, you can’t view the Lidl options online either, but if you want to jump start your fitness with healthy eating, they have these options from tomorrow the 12th of January:

Having worn my new gym gear out to walk the dog and do a bit of fitness DVD at home, I can certainly say it’s nice for the amount I paid. If I become a 5-7 day a week, marathon running, intense workout type person I would certainly think I’d need to upgrade to more performance, wicking type gear for sure but for starting out – this is all perfect clothing!

In full disclosure, I’ve purchased small appliances from Aldi (food processor and kettle, both exceptional quality) and from Lidl, small baking items for the holidays (wish I’d purchased more) and more home goods. I’ve been very happy with all my purchases from both places. If your local Aldi or Lidl is out of stock, don’t fret, items like this generally come back in stock every few months though the designs, colours, or exact items may change slightly but many items have a tendency to sell out quickly so if you sign up to their respective email/online/social media notifications, you can stay up to date and maybe plan purchases accordingly.

 

 

This post is not sponsored by Aldi or Lidl in any way. All pictures are copyright/trademarked by both companies respectively.

To Sale or Not to Sale?

Ugh. The dreaded sale post, right? Everyone has sales going right now so where to begin. Honestly, I’m in the dilemma myself. I didn’t get clothes or anything for Christmas (spent all that cash on Bella Freud weeks earlier!) and the real question is do I really, and I mean really, really need anything? Maybe. I have carts going at five (or more!) shops online. One day, I’ll be a brave little soldier and go into the city on Boxing Day.

At home, I have, literally, 6 navy sweaters. 3 blue (not navy), 5 grey sweaters. 5 black. A pink. A burgundy/pink stripe. A cream. 3 green/olive. 2 Fair Isle (1 red, 1 cream). A YSL in a Neopolitan type stripe (pink, orange, brown) that I never wear but too leery to put in the charity bag. 4 grey sweatshirts. And the list goes on… (all of these are pretty accurate counts too). Do I need another sweater?

Same dilemma with jeans, coats/jackets, pants/trousers, shoes. I do pretty big purges when I move and have downgraded lots (though there are a few pieces I wish I hadn’t given away – which is always the case right?) and am really trying to keep things of quality that I wear ALL. THE. TIME. I always grab the same pieces from my closet.

 

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Boden Supersoft Jumper: was £89.50, now £35.80 in navy

 

So before you really spend, think if you need it. Are you upgrading? Cheap polyester/acrylic/blend for something 100% cashmere, cotton, or merino?  Are you replacing items that are worn out? On the t-shirts, I certainly need that, as I find my expensive t-shirts get tiny, tiny holes right where the button on my jeans sits, which is !@£$%^&* annoying after spending £30+ for a single shirt! I don’t need to look like a homeless person with holes in my shirts. Is your white t-shirt faded and not so white anymore? Soles on your shoes worn out and the cobbler can’t help? Do you look and see you only have brown boots and could use a black pair? Always wearing pants/trousers to work and want to try a dress or vice versa?

 

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& Other Stories Zebraic Frilled Dress: was £69, now £48

 

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Finery London Albany Buckle Wrap Dress: was £69, now £34

Honestly, I haven’t ordered from Finery before, but I really like a number of things on their site, and I have heard great things from people who have ordered from them. Also, many items are made in the UK, which I think is a plus. The bag below is made in Italy, but when you click on the description of an item on their site, it will actually list the country, not just “imported.”

 

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Finery London Esther Leather Bucket Bag: was £125, now £62

And I have these pants/trousers in black, but tempted to get them in navy. I’ve worn mine with Stan Smith, not heels:

 

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Next Wide Slouch Trousers (125-378): was £25, now £12

In a nutshell, think carefully. Edit and re-edit those online bags before entering your card information and really consider if you need it. I’m still deciding. And if it sells out before I’m ready to click “buy” then TBH, I didn’t need it after all, right?

 

 

 

 

And as always, photos belong to the companies listed for copyright, trademark and all that legal stuff.

 

The Christmas Conundrum

Everyone seems to be doing their gift suggestions at this time of year – affordable under £100, under £50, under £25 and so on. Many are repetitive, though I have found a few really unique finds that I would not have considered so bonus points there. The conundrum was whether or not to do one myself – I decided to do a complete over the top one as I didn’t want to fall into the same trap as everyone else!

That being said, as a kid, the most exciting thing was getting the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book in the mail. It was the most luxurious, extravagant, fancy catalogue I had ever seen. It came in an envelope too – not your run of the mill catalogue for sure! It smelled divine, and everything in it was surely beyond what my parents could afford (despite them having a store card) – but I WAS DETERMINED! I tabbed back pages of things I hoped for, and ever year, I got the same: the multi-coloured canvas Neiman Marcus tote bag with their script logo printed on the side. Sadly, the tote bag hasn’t appeared in the book for years 😦

If you are not familiar with Neiman Marcus, it is a Dallas, Texas-based department store that was founded in the early 1900s when oil and income suddenly boomed in Texas! The Christmas Book has been around since the 1950s, with the showcase “his and hers” gift, plus hundreds more at eye-watering prices. I’ve always been curious to know if people fight over that 1 gift… but then again, what do you buy someone who has everything and could buy anything themselves? There IS a week at Alnwick Castle, Wilson House, and Blenheim Palace for a mere $700,000 if you are so inclined…

Do you know anyone super rich who needs something to do this Christmas? Give him or her my list! Or, if you have some cash to burn… HA! My fantasy shopping bag is a whopping £275,863.87 (limited to items that can be shipped to the UK, which did, alas, leave a few things behind -ha!) Yet international orders are apparently limited to a £21,034.68. Darn.

  • Emerald bracelet £163,649.77
  • Emerald ring £108,959.62
  • Balloon dog bookends  (2) £84.14
  • Manolo Blahnik Hangisi £811.94
  • Burgundy lace dress £490.53
  • Valentino Rockstud flats £458.56
  • 12 Christmas plates £332.35
  • Laura Mercier makeup £105.17
  • Double faced cashmere coat £904.49

So, despite all that, go ahead, have a peek, and enjoy some ridiculous fantasy Christmas.

London

I spent the day in London with my mom (which is rare as she never takes time off work for anything frivolous, real or imagined). The plan was to attend the Bella Freud sample sale (seriously, it was good as I scored 75% off a cashmere sweater), then check out the Christmas offerings at Fortnum & Mason, St. James Square and that general area.

A word about sample sales if you’ve never been to one (most of this is commons sense, but always helpful to get some suggestions, right?):

  1. Get there first thing. If they announce 10am, be there at 945am!
  2. Wear layers (like a thin t-shirt or tank/vest top for shirts, or tights if you may purchase sweats/trousers, etc.). Depending on the designer, it makes it easier to try things on if you aren’t familiar with that designer’s particular sizing, or if you want to be 100% sure of a purchase, as all sales are final.
  3. Leave your kids at home. Unless it’s an event for children’s clothing, trust me, don’t bring them. Politely (or not) wrangling for something amongst 50+ other women doesn’t make it kid friendly.
  4. Set a budget. I’ve never been invited to a Gucci sale (I think you’d have to spend WAYYYYYYYY more than I do there to get that invite!), but you should have a reasonable idea of what the designer’s clothes normally cost. That being said, sample sale prices should be 60% off or more – giving you reasonable “spend” expectations.
  5. Know the style of what you may/not be looking for. Easy, right? But just remember, we all get sucked into the huge savings dilemma. If you know the designer does “fun” clothes and colours, no matter how good a deal it may be, do you really need the lime green and orange dot shirt for £20 that’s regularly £300 if you’ll never wear it when you really wanted a plain white shirt?

For me personally, I got there about 10min later than I hoped due to some tube/train delays. Not a big deal, but there were easily already 50 women in the small conference room literally grabbing ARMLOADS of knits! And in that 10min, I missed out on the candle sets that would’ve made the best Christmas gifts for friends. Boo. I picked up a fun sweatshirt for the price of one at NEXT and a cashmere sweater that I should get lots of use out of!

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Poor lighting this morning, but this is really cobalt blue, with light blue and yellow accents

Plans, of course, went awry, when we had to go to the Apple Store to see about fixing a problem with her phone. Unable to get a set Genius Bar appointment, we (surprisingly) were able to get a “walk-in” appointment within about 3 hours (trust me this is a miracle in itself), but it also meant we couldn’t stray too far from the store as they could text at any time saying the appointment was imminent! So, pounding up and down Regent Street it was! And of course, the minute we finally decided to get lunch, they texted to say it was appointment time – resulting in a sprint back up Regent as it now or never, as there were no more appointments that day! Ugh. Kudos to Apple though as they fixed the problem!

We also escaped London by the skin of our teeth, as we grabbed the tube and train from Kings Cross before the massive tube and train shutdown that plagued the rest of the city about an hour later on Wednesday evening!