Monday, July 20, 2009

Nordstrom Personal Shopping or How I Like to Pretend I'm Rich

As promised, I am here to report the goods on my personal shopper appointment, but first I want to tell you what led me to this moment. In the last year I have been in fashion limbo. It started last August with my first miscarriage, then trying to get pregnant for 6 months, then getting pregnant, then having a another miscarriage, recovering and now trying again has been exasperating to say the least. During this time I've gained 10 pounds and even though I'm trying to get it off, my clothes are tight. Even before the weight gain, I was in limbo because of not wanting to invest in clothes before getting pregnant. So my closet needed a bridge between unworn old work clothes and a little too tight casual clothes and jeans.

Since my life right now is mostly casual, I like the idea of a t-shirt and jeans or capris but it looks so sloppy on me. I needed shirts and pants as easy to put together as a t-shirt but one step above in the way it looks. We go to a lot of parties, as in bbqs and baby showers, and I wanted these clothes to work for that too. When a girl is trying to be fiscally responsible, it's a lot to take into account with a potential changing body to dress.

My Goals: Mission Nordstrom Personal Shopper

1. Buy one cool outfit for going to casual parties.
2. Get out of my fashion rut and be open to new possibilities.
3. Buy some clothes that fit my body now.
4. Have fun and soak it all up!
5. Report back to you.

I have had a few days to process my personal shopping experience at Nordstrom. If I had written about it fresh from the store, you would have felt me bursting with excitement and the adrenaline rush that it was. Even though there were some things that could have been better, I'm not going to discount it because it was an amazing, totally worth it experience. I loved the personal attention and I will definitely do it again.

When I arrived, Scotty Smith, a total doll by the way, met me and escorted me up to the women's department. Since I had already informed him that I wanted to try on some 7 jeans, he started picking those out. He also went through and showed me some tops that would look nice on me. I agreed with most of what he picked but I wouldn't have picked them out on my own. In the dressing room, I tried on and tried on while he continued to gather more items. He brought me different sizes or different styles based on what had worked for me. Just for the schlepping alone, who could resist doing this?

After we finished with the clothing department, he led me through the shoe department, and then jewelry, which I decided to skip, then the purses which I would have indulged had I fell in love with one. A purse purchase was "G Approved"! I did have him hold a coral-red colored Kate Spade but I changed my mind. There were lots of Marc Jacobs buttery leather ones too. I'm so picky about my purses because I don't like to change mine that often so it has to go with lots of outfits.

My husband asked me if it was like What Not To Wear because he knows I love that show. It would have been cool (except for the humiliation) but it wasn't. He wanted me to get the full spiel of style advice and great clothes that work for me. Since it was the first day of the sale my shopper was a little distracted because he is the manager and kept being paged. I think maybe style advice would usually be a part of it though. However, he already chose for me what he thought would look nice so essentially it was unspoken style advice.

One of the big perks for me was being shown different departments and brands than I usually visit. I tend to have certain labels that I look at and ignore the rest. Knowing what brand and size looks great on you can be so useful, especially if you are getting a great deal online. I like to look at gilt.com and ruelala.com and it's essential that you know your size. BCBG and Karen Kane shirts seemed to be what worked for my style the best. He threw in a 100% silk Diane Von Furstenburg that looked great but I had to veto because of the delicate material. I'm a bit of klutz and my clothes need to be cleanable.

Here are some of the items he picked out for me:
BCBG Dress

BCBG Shirt




BCBG Shirt
Link to Nordstrom here


7 for all Mankind Jeans Dojo Petite Style



Steve Madden jeweled flats in Navy





There was obviously a lot more that I tried on but what did I end up buying? I got a Karen Kane top that wasn't in the sale but must be sold out because it is not on the site anymore, a green Halogen blazer above, the 7 jeans above, the BCBG kimono shirt above, and the navy flats. I also got G two pairs of 7 jeans and 2 TD shirts. After I got home, I decided to take back the kimono shirt and get the BCBG dress instead. Also, after trying on the navy flats with my jeans I realized that I would have to have my pants hemmed to wear them so I took them back. I wish they had just a little heel because I love them.

Every year I also take advantage of the reduced prices to get a new bra and underwear. I was fitted a few years ago there in the lingerie department which is another must do experience. Apparently bras don't last forever (who knew?) and should be replaced every year or two. My favorite underwear used to be the Hanky Panky but Natori has become my new love. Of course I always aspire to have bra and panties matching!! G doesn't understand why women wouldn't match them, don't they come in a set? I won't show you what I got but I always go for Chantelle bras.

Right before I had this appointment, I had ordered two pairs of jeans from Rue La La, which came in a few days ago. I got the Citizens of Humanity Dita style which are a bootcut style but petite. I love that the jeans companies are now doing shorter styles so I don't have to have them hemmed. They were a great price at $99 each. I feel funny saying that because I used to think that was way too much money for jeans.

Since Friday I started looking on ebay seeing if I could find some cute BCBG and Karen Kane tops to go with what I got. There are lots of cute ones to be found at great prices. Most of them are even new with or without tags. I have two coming in the mail, one that I got for $17.00 and the other for $41.00.

The Bottom Line--Why Get a Personal Shopper:

1. Get the Right Stuff : As the personal shopper carrying all my items led me through the purse department explaining how the jewel toned purses would accent my fall wardrobe, people were staring at me. (Who's that girl?) It was really cool to be cruising through the section with intention and guidance. If you don't have money to waste and need help selecting some clothes, it is an even better reason to have some help. I did find the jewel tones great but quickly realized that these colors are very trendy and that I would not be spending $200 on a trendy colored purse. That is not an investment worthy purchase for me. So even though the personal shopper might tell you one thing, you still have to use your own noggin to filter it.

2. Personal Service: If the promise of all the schlepping didn't do it for you, how about someone there to only talk about you and how these clothes look on you. There is no impatient husband waiting for you, giving unhelpful comments when asked. There is no friend telling you about some drama in her life, or even trying on clothes too and wanting your opinion on hers. It's all about you and sometimes a girl needs that.

3. Building a Wardrobe: Creating a relationship with a personal shopper doesn't mean that you have to spend thousands of dollars at a time. I'm sure they would prefer that though! I think it would be perfectly acceptable to go in when you are starting a new career, perhaps just out of college, and buy a suit for an interview with shoes, and all you need for that. After you get the job, you could go back for some other building blocks to add to the suit. Maybe you have a wedding, or an event that you need a dress to wear. If you buy that dress well, it can take you through many events for many years.

4. Investment: Everyone talks about investment pieces in your wardrobe which I completely believe in but not every piece of clothing is an investment into the future. Of course you can buy things that are expensive and seem like an investment but they won't last in your closet. Just like I had to walk away from the jewel toned bags in teal and berry, the hot colors right now, you can decide what will be worth spending the big bucks on. For me, jeans are worth it. So maybe you don't need a personal shopper to pick out a purse but if you have trouble navigating some part of shopping, why not use this free service?

5. Finding the Right Fit: Who doesn't want clothes that flatter them? I think this is one of the keys to style that is hardest to achieve. We are really at the mercy of trends and the shape of clothes is part of those trends. The last couple of seasons it is hard to find a shirt that doesn't look like maternity with all those empire waists. How about skinny jeans for a fit that doesn't work for many people. I loved that Scotty chose things for me that fit my body well and flattered my own shape. Since I have an hourglass figure, covering up my waist can make me look really chunky. So if you have a particular body issue that you are having trouble with, maybe they can pick things out for you that you didn't know would work for you. I think having an unbiased person helps get out of ruts and get beyond body image issues.

So that's my report from the "field". I'm so happy to have had this experience. I don't think I'll be doing it again in the near future but I can see myself going back for a seasonal update, or even an event I need to shop for like a Christmas party or wedding. I'm curious if this post will inspire any of you to make your own appointment. If you do, let me know how it goes and of course what you get!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Aspiring to Quirky Cottage Style Decorating

Life has been all about home improvement lately! I wanted to show off our little projects we've been doing around the house. Other news is that we bought another car. We've been saving for 1 1/2 years and we reached our goal to be able to pay cash for a car. It's a sporty two door Honda Accord that G has claimed as "his". He looks so good in it that I can't deny him that! So let's get on to Show and Tell!

Here is the headboard that I built all myself! G was in the field that week. It's super easy, even for me, who pondered how to nail two boards together. I also spray painted those lamps white. They were wooden lamps with a brass accent and have been in my Mom's house since as long as I can remember. They are still a little spindly looking but they'll do until the perfect ones come along. Looking at this picture, I definitely need a new bed skirt too. In the mail are new 2 inch blinds for this room. The whole house has these hideous mini blinds that we are going to replace one room at a time.


This is the view from the other side of the room. I'm still working on this room, and all of the house really. Here are my famous pink chairs. If you are looking for the perfect grey paint, this is Forde Abbey by Ralph Lauren. That is my stack of magazines that I'm working through. Of course some (Domino) I can't ever throw away!


These are our new faucets in the master bathroom. Gustavo labored intensely for several hours prying the bottom pipe loose. Our old ones were so grungy and gross! Now I don't ever want these to get dirty. Those are our new soap dispensers too. They came from Target and I love them! Mine has Dr. Bronner's Almond in it and G's has some Vanilla Bean Bath and Body Works. We have so much of that overpriced obnoxious smelling soap to use up it will probably last us another year.


The view from the other side. I got those topiaries at Target for $9.99 each. The glass canisters were $4.87 at Wal-Mart.


Speaking of soaps and potion bottles, I do have a little goal that I have been "working" on which is using up all those little samples and bits of products I have left. Gustavo is so understanding of my idiosyncrasies that he doesn't bat an eye when I rejoice that a bottle is actually empty. I march it over to recycling and kick it for good measure just so happy for it to be out of my life. Why don't I just throw it out, you ask? Using it is my lesson to be careful of what I buy in the future. Just aimlessly picking up something nifty at the drugstore or the beauty salon doesn't happen because I don't want that bottle hanging around my house forever. I've even proposed that G and I use the same shampoo and conditioner but honestly I don't know if that is going to happen. I'm a bit of a shampoo snob, I admit. It definitely won't happen right now because there are two big imposing bottles of *cough* Pert Plus *cough* in the shower.

I'm even on a no-buy with makeup. After I got my few things from the Mac sale (which I love), I decided to be diligent about using what I have. As it is, I could go until I'm 70 with what I have. I don't like to think of it as excessive, but as having options. (Denial you say? Maybe.) I wonder how long I can last on this no-buy. I do give away makeup though because it's too fun not to share with my Aunts Delores, Karen and my Mom. I even have a picture of my organized makeup collection. It's all here in my little drawer. Ok, it's all here except for what's in my purse. In my defense, I don't collect anything else, not even beanie babies. Actually, I do have a few beanie babies. Nevermind.




I also painted our guest bathroom. I was looking for the perfect green blue grey color just like I did in our master bathroom but it kind of just turned out blue, just like in our master bathroom. It's Glidden Gentle Tide and a beautiful color but not green enough for me. It took me an hour to paint two coats so a super easy project for an afternoon. I love to paint though!



A future project in the works in this dining room table that I bought while I was in NC. My uncle Gerald took it apart for me so I could fit it into the back of the rental car. It was my little miracle! Thanks Gerald for all your sweat and ciphering that went into that ordeal! This will be painted soon and I still have to find dining room chairs to go with it.


This is our living room. Note the beautiful red roses from Gustavo. I was having decorating ADD and decided to take out most of the color in the room. I needed light and white things so I could think in that room. It's a work in progress but we like it.

Facing the kitchen and front door.
Facing the back door and the hunka hunka TV that we got for free from G's college friend.


Living room, much more subdued and calm than before.



Beautiful roses again and Keegan who wanted to get in the picture.


This is Miyagi, G's bonsai, that somehow I always have to take in and out of the house to water.


Besides these little projects, we went on a vacation to Costa Rica. It was our "we're not having a baby" vacation. I hope that isn't too morbid but we wanted to take advantage of our time before kids. We stayed at Mango Moon in Manuel Antonio region and it was divine. Don't let the rainy season scare you away. The prices are reasonable and the weather was fine. It was forecasted to rain every day but it only rained one evening. We had adventures every day which is what we wanted. I'll post pictures later.

In the meantime, I'm happy to be back posting. Tomorrow I'm doing something really exciting that I've wanted to do for a long time. I have an appointment with a personal shopper at Nordstrom. Even though I can look at someone else and really see them, I have a hard time seeing myself. I will try to remember to take pictures and let you know what I come home with tomorrow. My appointment didn't by accident coincide with the first day of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It's the best sale of the year because they mark down fall stuff for 2 weeks and then it goes back to full price.

That's all for now! I love reading your comments. I'll even take some decorating advice for my work in progress home. I can't wait to report back on the personal shopping too.

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