Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

the fourteenth day of christmas

Friday, January 8th, 2016


i’d venture there is little more depressing in life than the mass amount of dying christmas trees on the curbs of my neighborhood following the holidays. i saw one yesterday down the street from me that still had all of its lights on it, the entire once-glowing showpiece in a pile waiting for the garbage truck.

i know that cut christmas trees can’t last forever. and i know that leaving our christmas trees up past a certain acceptable date (although i’m not sure what this date is? mine is still up.) borders on crazy-neighbor territory. i know all this. but it seems to me sometimes the way we cast off our trees, and christmas altogether, as soon as we can following december 25th in preparation for the next thing sort of means we missed the whole point. i’m not saying we should all sit around in our pajamas every day and watch home alone or even that we should leave the decorations up. i’m just saying that i wish the parts of christmas that are really good: connecting with loved ones without distraction, thoughtfulness, slowness, rest, and reverence should seep into our lives beyond december 26th instead of running full speed ahead into what’s next. the tree might end up on the curb, but the rest of it doesn’t have to.

i realize this post is coming after the new year, but what can i say? i’ve been milking christmas for all it’s worth over here.

on another note, when i was growing up, my best friend and i called each other every christmas morning to discuss what we opened under the tree. in a way, my toys were her toys and vice-versa, so it was really a win-win situation. since then, i always love to hear what my friends – and really anyone – received for christmas. even as an adult. it’s fun. i know christmas is absolutely not about the gifts, but they’re still a good part of it. so in that vein, here are a few fun ones i received this year…



  1. s’well bottle: this baby keeps your drink cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. plus, it’s just so snazzy. i’m staying super hydrated and it doesn’t sweat, so it’s great for using on the go.
  2. whitney english day designer: i’m abandoning my google calendar in favor of the real deal. i’m super particular about how i map my day and this planner checks all the boxes – hour by hour schedule, plus an extensive daily “to do” section. bonuses include daily gratitude, meal planning, budget planning, goal tracking, etc. i’m obsessed.
  3. old navy hi-lo turtleneck sweater: #tallgirlprobs include slouchy sweaters that aren’t actually so slouchy. slouchy sweaters are all i want to wear in the winter, so thankfully old navy has a nice tall sweater selection. this one is perfect. i can’t stop wearing it.
  4. lara casey powersheets: i can’t wait to write more about how much influence lara casey has had on my goals for 2016. reading her make it happen book (which i also received) has redirected and refocused me in so many ways. i am thankful for her and these amazing guided goal-setting sheets designed to help you make what matters happen.
  5. muro jewelry earrings: these studs are the most meaningful gift i received – my dad picked them out for me at our local vintage charlotte market. i’m so overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness and willingness to shop out of his comfort zone that i’m tearing up just writing this.
  6. lancaster paris bucket bag: the surprise of the year right here. was not expecting this one and i am in. love. my parents are really good at making christmas special.

so, happy 2016. i’m excited about the new year, i really am. despite my unwillingness to take down my christmas tree. except mine never actually goes out on the curb. an artificial beauty, she was there only once when my neighbor tried to throw her away. but i rescued her and she lives with me now. all the way through valentine’s day. not really. but also maybe.

image by geof kern via anachoretique

partying like it’s my birthday

Friday, August 29th, 2014

2014-08-02 23.28.34

this year, my birthday was exceptionally fantastic. i realize it happened a month ago, but i’m still thinking about it. i have extremely thoughtful friends and family who made me feel very loved and very special. you know how when you were a kid and your birthday felt almost as awesome as christmas? this year was probably the closest to that feeling i can remember in ages. i don’t even mind that much that i am now one year away from 30. i had a taco party at one of my favorite charlotte restaurants. there was rainbow cake, a balloon bouquet, lots of new friends and a waiter who looked like and was probably much nicer than john mayer. i spent my actual birthday not working and playing with my mom. we ate lunch on the lake and shopped at goodwill, which is basically my ideal day. i bought a shirt with a cat on it that says “let’s get cray” (see here and be jealous) and then i ate more cake with my family. finally, the following weekend, i spent time in southern pines playing with my favorites, who threw me an incredibly sweet and very unexpected surprise party (see images above and below) that also included cake, with the best homemade icing i’ve ever tasted. made by my professional cake baker and all-around-amazing friend amy. i’m sensing a trend here. cake and general cray-ness. anyway, to my friends and family who are so wonderful: i love you and the cakes you make for me.

photo 3

the other fun part of birthdays is the presents. and when very generous people give you birthday checks so you can go shopping. even though it’s literally almost 100 degrees here today (i sweat through my work clothes just driving home this afternoon), i am naturally way excited about fall. and fall clothes. and boots and fall jackets and sweaters and flannel and boots. in an effort to thank those who were kind enough to finance this afternoon’s online shopping extravaganza, i would like to share with you the following purchases that have been sponsored by your generosity. these boots though. and this jacket though. i am crazy about them. and you. and fall. and boots.

birthday buys

buying these things today made me feel like it’s my birthday all over again, and that’s never a bad feeling. excuse me while i go find some more cake.

photo collage credit: 1.sole society 2.forever 21

light ’em up up up

Sunday, January 5th, 2014


on thursday i was really bummed out about the holidays being over. like REALLY bummed. so bummed i made my friend sarah go eat mexican with me and ate so much that i still wasn’t feeling great on friday morning. generally (as much as i love christmas) once the new year hits, i’m ready to say goodbye to the christmas decs and music and hallmark movies, but this year, i’m still pretty unhappy about it. i resent whomever’s fault it was that there was one less week of christmas season this year. that was a cheap trick.

anyway, in an effort to curb my depression, i wandered anthropologie on thursday night after mexican (i was wearing bright yellow rain boots and could barely stand up straight i was so full and i’m pretty sure the sales girl really hated me) and picked up a few new candles for the house since all i have been burning lately are ones that smell like fresh christmas trees. voluspa candles are my favorites there and i figured i’d share my two favorite ones (both part of the japonica collection) as they smell incredible, burn forever and have a nice coconut oil wax that burns really cleanly without any of that black soot.


crane flower reigns supreme for my overall house scent. you know that wonderful smell when you walk into anthro? i think this candle is more reminiscent of that smell than any of the better-known capri blue candles. this scent is apparently inspired by the birds of paradise flower, and is a combination of birds of paradise nectar, grapefruit, geranium and lavender.


mokara is my favorite scent for my bedroom. a combination of mokara orchid, white lily and spring moss, it smells light, clean, and really fresh and feminine.

both of these candles come (in small and large sizes) in textured glass jars that look as pretty as they smell. you can pick up a small tester version of both of these for just $10 at anthro, and i doubt you’ll be sorry.

as a fun side note, if you visit the voluspa website, you’re greeted with a lovely classical sonata that sounds like it’s straight off the pride and prejudice movie soundtrack and a photo on the main page of the custom candle they created for kim kardashian’s sham of a wedding a few years ago. i’d probably take that down at this point if i were them, but whatever. anyway, happy rainy sunday afternoon!

image credit: 1.@wearegoodstock on instagram 2-3.candle delirium

if i was a rich girl

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

you guys. can we please talk about this coat? oh my goodness. and that’s all i have to say.

images via jcrew

here comes the bride(smaid)

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

tonight i did some serious searching for a dress for next week’s impending nuptials. i haven’t blogged much lately (sad), so in case you don’t interact with me on a regular basis and haven’t heard me talking incessantly about next week’s wedding-of-the-decade, let me brief you. aaron is my brother. he is cool and stylish and has a swank job at one of charlotte’s best architecture firms. he is marrying gracie, a girl he met while in college. she is beautiful, sweet, so smart and creative, and has the best manners of anyone i know. i get a thank you note for something almost every time i see her. and they’re always the really pretty, fancy kind. the ones you get at paper source and want to frame. a + g are getting married in wilmington and it’s going to be a big fancypants affair with lots of events.

first, let me say how MUCH i love gracie for choosing this dress for her bridesmaids:

isn’t it gorgeous? (although the model is terrifying me.) it’s lilly pulitzer (go figure) and the stripes are actually little golden threads woven into the fabric. it’s one of those dresses i would see in the store and wish i had a reason to buy. now i have a reason and it’s going to be mine forever after. i can’t wait to wear it. seriously. i LOVE it.

i’d like to say i’m just completely amped about next weekend (because i am), but there’s been a little sadness too. i would be lying if i said watching aaron and gracie walk through this process together hasn’t made me jealous about the fact that i’m not getting married anytime soon. and insecure. no one wants to be the groom’s-single-older-sister. ew. so naturally i’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to have some fab frocks for all of the festivities. combine that with the fact that i’m ridiculously cheap, and i’ve been having a time finding anything i like. i hit nearly every store at southpark mall tonight. first, a few thoughts:

1. what is with all the one-shoulder dresses? they were cool last year and aside from an occasional re-wear, i’m seriously over them.
2. never in my life have i found so many beautiful white/ivory lacy dresses. why does that happen the one time that it’s inappropriate to wear such a dress?

3. why did this supremely perfect dress (alice + olivia) have to cost so much? if it had been up to me, i would have bought it and been done.
4. why do dresses cost so much and still fit so badly? i’m a size 6-8 here, people. pretty standard. most of what i put on was horribly unflattering and just fit poorly.

i had all but given up when i stopped in ann taylor on my way out of the mall. um. when did ann taylor become awesome? i think i might have found a new favorite store. i liked nearly everything in the place. color, neutrals, work wear, weekend wear. everything. i went a little crazy and tried on much more than dresses. look at all those goodies! that blazer was the best thing ever and if anyone wants to buy it for me, i’ll take a size 6.

i ended up surprising myself by falling in love with the bright pink deconstructed sheath dress. (even before i realized it was 50% off). let me say that these images above from the site do no do it justice. it is gorgeous and modern and so flattering. and totally unfussy. it has that oh-i-just-threw-this-on-and-look-fabulous air. after wearing it around the dressing room for a while soliciting compliments from anyone who wanted to give them, i walked out of the store with a fantastic rehearsal dinner dress. 

in a perfect world, i would style it up like this. given that i own nothing even remotely similar to these items, the likelihood that i’m going to pull it together in less than a week is probably not great. i may have to get creative with what i’ve got. the good news is the sock bun is always cool and won’t require any planning or effort.

in other wedding weekend fashion news, i plan on picking this little number up on monday at ivy & leo by my office. that is, if no one has bought it yet. i’ve been stalking it for a couple of weeks now and the verdict is in. i need it.

much more wedding goodness to come. for real.

photo credit: 1.brightyoungthoughts 2.lillypulitzer 3.nordstrom
 4. @cdcote on instagram 5/6.anntaylor 7.polyvore 8.designerbagsanddirtydiapers 

shop local, be sexy

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

in the wake of black friday’s no-holds-barred commercial shopping frenzy, november 26th is small business saturday. meaning, don’t go back to target for those last-few-things-on-your-list-that-wal-mart-sold-out-of-before-you-even-made-it-in-the-door-because-the-crazy-women-with-the-matching-sweatshirts-have-been-camped-out-since-wednesday-and-bitch-slapped-everyone-in-their way-en-route-to-the-doorbuster-deals. (yes, i’ve seen all all of these things happen on black friday. minus the bitch-slap. but i have seen plenty of pushing/shoving/yelling/cart-ramming/threatening/shoplifting/shoplifters busted. it’s so sad/entertaining.) consider supporting local business by making at least one purchase that is privately/locally owned on saturday after you save lots of dollars on black friday. they may not have doorbuster deals, a flyer in the thanksgiving paper, festive ads on television or lines of eager shoppers out the door, but chances are your local businesses work harder and provide unique, quality gifts that say “merry christmas” a lot more effectively than the same scarf from gap that you’re planning to give to four other people. i’m all for some serious bargain shopping and presents under the tree from target and anthro, but let’s also be sure to support our local businesses together!

a few of my local (and not-so-nearby-local) favorites are listed/linked below. if i could shop at all of these places on saturday, i’d be a happy girl (and a broke one)…

paper skyscraper – charlotte, nc

the village store – davidson, nc

avalilly’s – cornelius, nc

bless your heart/take heart – blowing rock, nc

swank coffee shop – southern pines, nc

mockingbird on broad, southern pines, nc

chocolatier barrucand – concord, nc

oak street mill – cornelius, nc

the depot at gibson mill – concord, nc

images: 1.allmoviephoto 2.hoodiecharlotte 3.jennifer mac 4.vipcitycard 5.wildflowersandcountryroads 6.swank 7.mockingbird 8.barrucandflickr 9.junkwild 10.depotgibsonmill

sleeping in on a saturday? pssshhhh….

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

a few weeks ago, a local church hosted its bi-annual church bazaar on an unseasonably sticky saturday morning. i would encourage you in this moment to take every image of a church bazaar that you can conjure up in your mind and multiply it by about 200. this particular sale is the largest of its type that i’ve seen. it is hosted both inside and outside the church and this year required not one, not two, but three police officers to help direct traffic. there was a silent auction for the really good items, an entire tent of activities for kids, a bake sale and a concession tent, an extremely large “check your purchased items here” area, a room so full of books for sale that i had to just walk away, and several decent vehicles on the auction block. i do not attend this church, but i am very curious to know what kind of fundraising profit they make. it is incredibly well organized (this coming from the most critical of organizational nazis) and chock full of good deals. here are my treasures…

almost as soon as we walked in, i spotted this cool like-new bird pillow with a removable cover and knew it needed to be on my couch for the fall. ordinarily i wouldn’t buy pillows at a yard sale, but this one was in perfect condition and the cover was washable. then, about ten minutes later, my friend rebecca spotted the second pillow of the pair. i walked away with two for $2 and my fall living room looks super. (more on that in a post soon!)

mom and i each scored one of these great decorative urns (is that what you would call this?) for $3.

this little guy makes watering my (mostly dead) plants way happier. i love him. $1.

these brass deer ($2) stand about 10″ and 6″ high and have no place in my home at this point. but someday i will be inspired to make them look cooler than they do currently. they’re rather tarnished, but have tons of great potential. should i modge podge them with old book pages or some pretty decorative paper? spray paint them a cool color? rub-n-buff them? help!

my recent obsession with chunky chains and bracelets was satisfied (at least for a while) when i found this silver necklace for $1.

in the fellowship hall, there were more clothes than the goodwill. i got this very-now cropped sweater for $2. and to think i had almost bought a nearly identical one at marshall’s a few days before.

this skirt obviously needs a trip to the dry cleaner and a serious date with the steamer machine, but it is talbots and it is way cooler in person than it looks in this photos. it’s kind of chiffon-y and will look good styled several different ways. i can’t wait to wear it! $2.

and then, following my trip to the church bazaar, i refueled with a pumpkin spice latte and then hit up one other yard sale and the new (awesome) local thrift store grand opening where i scored these fantastic finds:

ann taylor loft 100% silk slouchy gray blouse. gray is my absolute favorite color lately and i love the pretty bead detail and raw silk edges. $2.

this talbots belt is stretchy, flattering, genuine leather and still had the $24 talbots tag attached. i much prefer to spend $1.99 on my belts.
and, finally, my favorite find of the day. i nearly knocked over a couple of other customers when i spotted this talbots pencil skirt (i’m sensing a theme here?) peeking out a few racks over. not only does it look completely and totally anthro and fit me absolutely perfectly, but it still had the $99 price tag attached. i paid $3.99 and i still can’t believe how much i love it.
moral of this story? getting up at the crack of dawn on a saturday is completely, totally worth it.

welcome to fall. now, let’s play dress-up.

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

it’s officially fall as of 5:04am today! happy happy happy day! the solstice, cooler temps and the leaves may be right on time, but i’m still a little behind on my fall home decorating and supplementing my wardrobe. my kitchen table is scattered with my box of fall decor and my closet is still full of summer. as i’m still unemployed (gah), my list of things-to-buy for autumn is pretty abbreviated. i honestly have a pretty huge selection of fall goodness stuffed in the back of my closet already, so i really only need a few fun updates to be right on target. here are my top ten must-haves in no particular order:

1. cable knee (preferably over-the-knee) socks in ivory, brown and gray: i love this look and rocked it yesterday, actually, with my one pair of not-very-cool tall socks. i definitely want to make it a more regular occurence. it’s surprisingly flattering.

2. sage/olive green textured tights: i’m not personally in to the bright HI I’M WEARING COLORED TIGHTS! look. this, instead, is subtle and extremely cool.

3. mustard a-line skirt: i haven’t been able to find a reasonable skirt that fits my specifications, which means that i will probably be sewing one very soon. unfortunately it will not have these pretty modcloth pleats, but it will still look excellent with virtually my entire fall wardrobe.

4. neutral booties: we all know how this search is going. not well.

5. black cigarette pants: forever 21 used to have the best fitting pair for like $12. where did they go!? i also want a few pairs of the minnie pant, or a similar (cheaper) replacement.

6. target striped shirt: every time i’ve been to target lately, i’ve picked up this shirt. i don’t need another striped shirt. i have no job. but lordy if i don’t want it. i love the color and the little gold sprinkle of sequins on the shoulders hints that you’ve just been to a fabulous party with lots of confetti. i see a lot of great outfit options here, many of which include a skinny belt. 

7. long black winter gloves: this summer, i bought two coats at the goodwill. one, a fantastic vintage black swing coat with tortoiseshell buttons and a mink collar. the second, an eggplant-colored car coat with a faux fur collar and black jeweled buttons. both need an excellent pair of black elbow-length winter gloves.

8. tribal-inspired bone necklace: love this one from la garconne, but, you know. it’s $246. no, thank you. i will find a cheaper one sooner or later.

9. red trousers: i find it interesting that i like these pants so much. i don’t really do a lot of bright colors and i don’t really love red anywhere but my lips or my fingernails. but every time i walk by express lately, i stop to admire these trousers. i want to wear them with a wrinkled white button down, some major leopard pumps, a whole mess of gold bracelets and some bold black liquid eyeliner.

10. navy checked button down shirt: this kills me. in college, i had this shirt. but then i got rid of it. this is why i don’t clean out my closet. because i always end up wanting things again. i will continue to scour the goodwill racks until i find a sufficient replacement. it will look super tucked in with my skinnys, some over-the-knee boots and aforementioned socks, a wide belt and a bunch of messy chunky jewelry.

in addition to what i want, i have already acquired and/or rediscovered quite a few things that have strongly influenced my fall outfit plans. you’re dying to know, right? i know.

1. slouchy gray cardigans: i have two. they resemble the one above and literally go with everything, including my pajamas.

2. poncho: is it a sweater? is it a blanket? who’s to say? i’ve decided that these are cool again. i have two, neither of which i have worn yet, and one of which i plan to dye a cool color. i love them and their slouchy-ness. i’m also seriously considering picking this ruana (which i lump in the poncho category) up at target.

3. feather earrings: honestly, i think the feather hair extensions are getting a bit out of control. every other eight year old has a pink or a blue one; and for those of us that are on the job hunt, somehow a feather just doesn’t really say “hi, i’m a professional”.  unless you are interviewing for a job as pocahontas, in which case i highly recommend the poncho as well. the solution? feather earrings. they aren’t permanent and somehow i like them better. i picked up two very subtle, yet very cool pairs at the mighty dollar this past weekend. meaning each pair only cost $1. i have already gotten my money’s worth out of them and i am just getting started.

4. oatmeal suede over-the-knee boots: these have already received their own blog post, and i think it’s clear how much i love them. lucky’s fall shoe guide also said stacked heel boots are in. holler.

5. stacked bracelets: my bracelets lately have been out. of. control. i used to be a jewelry minimalist aside from my giant men’s watch, but lately, the more of everything the better. i’m pretty sure this is a man-repeller trend, as at least four that i can think of have ridiculed my bangled wrists within the last month, but i love them and i can’t stop buying or layering.

6. cross-body bags: a few months ago, my friend ashley saw that i was scoping out the vintage coach bags while antique shopping, was kind enough to acquire her mom’s old coach bags that were no longer wanted, and gave me an excellent navy willis bag (above) with a cross-body strap. i was instantly in love and then even more so when i discovered that the exact same bag had recently been re-released with coach’s classics collection. i’m so fortunate to have such thoughtful, stylish friends with stylish mothers who like to keep their coach collection up to date. i’ve also recently discovered that two of my more slouchy shoulder bags can easily be converted to cross-body. i love it when that happens.

and, finally, the onset of cooler temperatures makes me excited to wear make-up and style my hair again. it hasn’t been too pretty this summer, but i’m really excited about some of my current beauty obsessions and i think they’re definitely shaping my overall fall look…

1. liquid eyeliner: ive been wanting to try this ever since i saw these models in the banana republic mad men collection, but i’ll admit, i was scared. i’d never used liquid. that is, until blair demonstrated how awesome and easy it really is. i grabbed a $1 elf tube at target for practice and i am completely hooked. i thought a bold black line might look harsh on my fair features, but my eyes have never looked so bright or defined. i’m completely hooked and i can’t wait to check out some other colors.

2. red and gray nails: in the past, i’ve been a neutral nail gal, but lately i’m really loving reds, deep purpley reds and most recently, gray nails. i always swore i’d never wear anything that wasn’t in the pink or red family, but lacey bought me a bottle and gray is actually really cool, sophisticated and surprisingly flattering on my skin tone.

3. dark lipstick (deep red and plum): again, aside from dance recitals, i’ve always shied away from bold lips, scared that i would look overdone or, worse, like a character from twilight. and again, i was wrong. i can’t stop wearing deep red and a dark, brownish-plum color. they brighten up my entire face and i can minimalize the rest of my make-up, therefore streamlining the process and saving precious minutes. i’m also surprised at how sophisticated and pretty i feel with such dark lips.

4. hot rollers: remember when i hot rolled my hair in the eighth grade for school pictures? oh, wait. you wouldn’t remember that because i’ve hidden every possible photo in hopes that no one would see my out-of-control tresses or my sunflower jumper. back then, before i discovered a blow dryer and smoothing creme, it was not cute. but i have lately rediscovered my same set of rollers from the eighth grade and am loving it. my hair holds the curl well, preventing me from having to wash it for days on end, and it’s just the perfect amount of undone tousle that no longer resembles the contestants on toddlers in tiaras.

i think the best part about the cooler months for me is feeling inspired again. it is so much fun to play with my clothes, make-up and hair and actually feel pretty when i leave the house; which is something that never happens in the summer when i’m sweaty, stinky, and generally angry. reading blogs, magazines and observing stylish women pushes me to try new things and take a step out of my comfort zone, which is something that i never used to do when i was less confident prior to my twenties. i love that my look is constantly evolving and that taking risks beauty and fashion-wise often gives me more confidence and opens the door to new things that i had no idea i’d like so much. it’s fun being surprised like that and of course, it’s fun finding a look that is my own and staying true to what makes me feel wonderful. now, go buy something new for yourself and celebrate fall!

images: 1.weheartit 2.threadsence 3.peruvianconnection 4.modcloth 6.lagarconne 8.jcrew 9.kendieveryday 10.smartset 11.carolinesmode 12.threadsence 13.atlantic-pacific
15.sea-change 17.pinterest 18.brooklynblonde

bootie bootie bootie bootie rocking everywhere

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

apparently finding the perfect neutral fall bootie is harder than it sounds. ive done laps at the mall. been to every tjmaxx in the area. surfed every website i can think of. tried on every “it’s sort of what i’m looking for, but not quite” bootie i’ve found. with no luck. the cole haan boot pictured above is the goal. unfortunately cole haan does not really price booties in the affordable range. here are the criteria:

1. must be somewhere in the mid-brown to greige/nude color family.
2. must not have an insanely high heel. but also not a short heel. because booties suddenly become very awkward looking when the heel is too short.
3. must be funky enough to wear with cool dresses and skinny jeans on the weekend, but equally sophisticated enough to wear with a pencil skirt and blouse to the office (when i someday actually have one to go to). i’ve had no trouble finding cool funky booties. it’s the more sleek, professional element that is difficult.
4. the toe of said bootie must not be too round. anything rounder than an almond toe looks extremely strange. also stacked platform toes look strange. case in point? these target booties. they look so weird on my feet. i’m also not too excited about the idea of peep-toes.
5. the height of the boot must be flattering. my black booties surprisingly, though they hit right above my ankle bone, look awesome with bare legs and i would like my new bootie to do the same. 
6. i’m almost 100% sure that laces are not what i’m going for. i understand and respect the grandma bootie/oxford bootie, but it’s not really what i’m looking for. a zipper, however, is acceptable.
7. must be approximately $50 or less.

okay so, um, perhaps i’m a little picky. i’ll admit it. you have to be picky when you’re cheap. there are plenty of $150-and-up options that are awesome. it’s the lower price ranges that are the most difficult. i tend to wear shoes out pretty quickly, so i try not to spend a fortune on them. this style is a little too trendy and not classic enough to splurge on. im also blown away at how many red and blue booties there are in the world. seriously? you’d think some fairly basic neutral booties wouldn’t be that hard to find in comparison. and so the hunt continues. here are a few maybes:

the forever 21 suedette ankle boots. i feel like while these meet the price and color requirements, something about them looks odd. they look too oblong, maybe? or the heel is too short? would my feet look ginormous in these? i actually tried on a wedge pair of booties at forever 21 last weekend and i loved them, but they didn’t have my size and they are not online. frustrating.

the gap leather ankle boots. i think these are gorgeous. they are a little higher up on the ankle than i would prefer, so i’m not sure how they would look with bare legs, but i think they could work. if gap decides to pull a banana republic and send me a 40% off coupon, these would then be in the correct price range and i may order them to check it out.

the nine west francesca bootie. love everything about these. except that my former nine west boots fell apart in less than one season and these just slightly exceed my price range.

the steve madden p-zesst ankle boots. i think the name of these is half the reason i like them. these are a pretty strong contender at the moment. i love the chunky-ness and think that would incidentally slim my leg a bit. i’m just slightly unsure about the color – are they almost too neutral?

and, a few thoughts to close this post:
1. what in the world is a shootie? and how does it compare to a bootie? because they look exactly the same to me.

2. there are a lot of really ugly shoes in the world. like these. what the hell?

3. when i am employed again and when they go on sale, i also really want these for weekends. aren’t they they cutest? i’m obsessed.

so what are you thinking? what of my criteria (besides the general price range) should be most important?  i would love advice and input (or other suggestions) as i work toward this (obviously) very important fashion decision!

hello, hillsville!

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

two weeks ago, my friend lindsey lee invited me to join her, her sister, leann, and her mom, robin, on their annual trip to the hillsville, virginia labor day flea market. if you have never visited this event, allow me to attempt to describe it to you. it’s like a trip to the county fair combined with every yard sale you’ve ever visited, combined with a trip to your favorite antique mall, combined with a trip to the junk yard, combined with a trip to the campground, combined with a trip to the local family dollar. all stuck in the middle of the most podunk town in the the appalachian foothills. and then there are the guns. not only is this the most insanely large flea market i’ve ever seen (there was field after field of tents and booths) but it’s also a gun show. that’s right, folks. you can buy depression glass, period furniture, estate jewelry, every fried food in the book and semi-automatic weapons at this flea market. and not just semi-automatic weapons, but shot guns, pistols, ammo, and everything else that’s gun related that i don’t know the name of. i’ve never seen so many nra-loving republican southerners, mountain people and bargain shoppers in one place. there was literally something for everyone. i’m not entirely sure that combining guns with overly assertive deal-hungry people like lindsey, her mom, sister and i is a good idea, but who am i to say?

starting our loooooong day of shopping

so let’s talk about hillsville with lindsey lee. three days in advance, i received an email from her outlining every detail of the day and the ways in which i could be best prepared. i was instructed to wear sunscreen, tennis shoes, a hat, sunglasses and i was told i was not allowed to bring a purse, as it was imperative that my hands be free. i was told to make a detailed list of the items for which i was looking so that i could best focus my energy, and that i needed to begin brainstorming the “card” i would play in order to receive the best price while haggling. lindsey’s card was “it’s for my new baby’s room”. leann’s card was “it’s for my first home with my new husband”. i never really came up with a card, although “it’s for my sanity because i have no job, no husband and no baby” might have evoked some sympathy? card or no card, we shopped and we shopped and we shopped. we shopped until every time lindsey stopped walking i searched for the nearest place to sit down and rest my tired feet (i wore chacos and definitely should have taken lindsey’s advice on the tennis shoes. my feet were not. happy.) i left my house at 6:15am and returned home at 9:30pm. minus an hour for lunch and the time it took to drive there (about four hours total) in our giant four door chevy pick-up, we shopped the entire time. and i’d say we only saw about one third of all the booths that were there. this is no joke, people. bargain shopping at its most intense. i assumed that because lindsey was pregnant that i would certainly outlast her shopping stamina, but i was so wrong. lindsey, her mom and leann have more endurance than anyone i’ve ever met. not thunderstorms, not pregnancy, not intense heat and not one million rednecks talking about their guns stopped us, and it was a seriously great day.

approximately 1/16 of the flea market. seriously.

we started the morning with as many empty bags as we could carry, and we filled them all up. the empty pull-behind cart (named bertha and monogrammed because we’re so classy) seemed rather cumbersome when we were starting out, so robin managed to attach it to her backpack. it was a storage device and a way to deter other shoppers who don’t understand the meaning of personal space.

our first stop was this amazing linen booth that sold the most beautiful quilts, duvets, pillow shams, bed skirts, etc. and all at amazing prices. we all went a little crazy here. more on this later.
there were so many gorgeous shiny brite ornaments, and i wanted them all.
what’s that you say? you want to buy an entire cemetery’s worth of plastic flowers? well, you came to the right place. remember when i said there’s something for everyone? i wasn’t kidding.
i got really excited about these three tables full of jumbled jewelry and baubles. unfortunately, however, i couldn’t find the match for the awesome vintage leopard print shoe clip that i found. 
this booth was really cool and the people were really nice. except all of their cool vintage clothes still had the goodwill tags on them. it’s hard to get excited about paying $22 for a vintage dress that i know cost $4.99. removing the tags may have been a wise marketing strategy. just saying. 
a very nice gun-happy group was handing out these stickers. i figured with so many guns and sarah palin lovers floating around, it was safest to just appear to be one of them, so i wore it proudly all day. i have an opinion on almost everything, but i’m not sure i feel strongly one way or another regarding gun control. if i had a quarter for every old man that told me he liked my sticker, however, i could have bought a lot more stuff. liam ate this sticker (and by ate it, i mean chewed it up and ate it) when i got home. i guess we know how he feels. 

this was my favorite booth – the “carry chic” tent –  stocking all of your stylish gun concealment needs. that banner, in case you can’t read it, says “defend yourself…in style.” and just when i thought my pink pistol wasn’t going to fit in my evening clutch.

at about 4:00, we were hit with a pretty decent thunderstorm. did i mention that lindsey also bought vintage boat oars for baby boy’s nautical nursery? and that she carried them through the pouring rain? the “now all you need is a boat” jokes from passerby were a little out of control.

robin bought us some excellent ponchos at cvs so that we could continue shopping despite the storm. this is the first time i have ever worn a poncho and it was one part awesome and one part what i would imagine the wrestling team in college experienced when they were trying to drop a weight class in the gym.

aaaaaannnnd my very favorite photo of the day. these kind hillsville residents were willing to let you park in their yard for $5. they even made their own sign. we discussed what “come in own your own” meant until i realized it was redneck speak for “on your own”. could anything epitomize this experience more adequately? i don’t think so.

and i’m sure you’re wondering about my great deals? prices at a lot of the booths were higher than than i was willing to pay. i’m a fan of yard sale pricing, not fancy antique pricing, but the flea market was large enough that there was something for everyone. i didn’t get too much, just because my house is overflowing with good deals, but the things i did score were excellent. lindsey and her family, on the other hand, bought so many great things that we filled up the bed of our pick-up truck, as well as the cab. i can’t wait to go back in the future when i have a job and a larger place to fill with unique vintage treasures. and tennis shoes.

milk glass pedestal bowls. most of the booths priced them around $20-25. these cost $2 and $3 and i looooove them.
vintage flower earrings, $1, and vintage flower bracelet (my favorite thing that i bought – so anthro and so much prettier in person), $2. 
 remember the linen booth i mentioned? i bought these excellent pillow shams (four total) for $1 each. i also bought my mom several other varieties, all $1 and all top brands. i plan to make them in to couch pillow shams instead of bed pillow shams, which should look great on my couch for fall.
and finally, while i didn’t take a photo of it, i bought this full/queen nautica clearwater duvet, sold in stores for $160, for $4 at the linen booth. i don’t have any need for a duvet, but i loved it so much and i’m pretty sure i’ll never find another brand new duvet that i love so much for $4. i’ll probably rotate it into my bedding for fall. isn’t it gorgeous?

oh, and i almost forgot. the hot, fresh, made-from-scratch mennonite doughnut that was the size of my head. this was dinner on the ride home and i don’t think i’ve ever enjoyed a doughnut quite as much as i did this one. it was a perfect end to an exhausting but excellent day of bargain hunting with friends.

robin, lindsey and leann, i know i fell asleep sitting straight up with my head tipped forward on the way home and in joe’s words “looked seriously worn out” when we got home, but i had a great time – thank you so much for inviting me! 

 bedding image via the home decorating company